Coq au Vin - Chicken in Red Wine - is one of those "oven things" I like to cook during fall and winter. But since today is the tenth anniversary of the death of Julia Child, who made the dish so popular with Americans, I made it, at the height of summer, in her honor.
When I went out to the shops yesterday, there were not any organic bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or whole legs to be found. Not feeling up to cutting up a whole chicken, I decided to try it with the organic boneless skinless thighs that were available.
I also could not get my hands on any fresh or frozen pearl onions, so I had lots of modifications to make. So this is not Julia's recipe, though I was inspired by her. I met and chatted with Julia on several occasions years ago, and I know she'd be the first to tell me to just go for it.
"Once you have mastered a technique, you hardly need look at a recipe again." ~ Julia ChildTurns out I like it even more with the boneless skinless chicken thighs! Oh and I don't flame the brandy. I have cabinets and other flammable things too close to the stove to be messing about with fire! How about you?
Coq au Vin - Chicken in Red Wine
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped onions
1/2 pound carrots, in 1-inch diagonal slices
2 cloves garlic, coarsely smashed, optional
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, halved or quartered
3 tablespoons brandy
3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
1 Cut bacon slices crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide pieces. In a 4- to 5 1/2-quart enameled cast iron French/Dutch oven, sauté the bacon pieces in 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium heat until lightly browned and crisp. With slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan. Drain off all but a tablespoon of fat and reserve it to use as the recipe proceeds, unless you prefer to use all olive oil.
2 Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels, and season with pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Brown the chicken in a single layer (might need to do it in two batches), about 10 minutes, using as much of the bacon fat or olive oil as needed. Remove to platter.
3 Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Add chopped onions and sliced carrots to pot. Cook for 5 minutes, until onions are very soft. Sprinkle flour over vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes, working flour into the fat. Whisk in broth. Simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened. Whisk in tomato paste.
4 Add wine, bay leaf, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt to pot. Add chicken and bacon back to pot. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Cover with foil and lid and place in oven to cook for 1 1/2 hours at 300 degrees.
5 Take pot from oven; remove bay leaf. If not serving it today, let chicken cool to room temperature in the sauce, up to 2 hours, then cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.
6 On serving day, set pot over medium high heat and bring to simmer. Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet heat 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil. Add mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Sauté mushrooms over medium high heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in brandy. Add to pot. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.