Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Coq au Vin

This Christmas my parents bought me Julia Child's cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."  I LOVE IT!  So many delicious ingredients, and recipes. I simply cannot stop reading it!  While Justin and I were in London, we went to a cozy little restaurant and I ordered Coq au Vin. It was amazing. No, wait. It was beyond amazing, it makes my mouth water justing thinking about it while I write this post.  Needless to say, as soon as we got home I whipped out my cookbook, looked up the recipe and headed out to the grocery store.
The recipe turned out to be absolutely delicious.  I was rather nervous in the beginning, mainly because you have to catch a pan of grease, cognac, and chicken on fire, but that actually went surprisingly well!  I still to this date have not burned the house down ;) Unfortunately, I have no picture of the beautiful flaming pan because the hubby was more concerned with escape routes and smothering tactics to worry about snapping an awesome photo.  Men!
I hope you will all venture out of your comfort zone as I did and make this dish because it is absolutely breath taking.  My biggest caution is to buy a good brand of burgundy. It will make ALL the difference!

3-4oz bacon cut into pieces
4 Tbsp butter + 3 Tbsp for sauteing onions and mushrooms
3 lbs cut up chicken (boneless, skinless)
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup cognac
3 cups of burgundy*
1-2 cups chicken broth
1/2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic mashed
1/4 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf
12-24 pearl onions
1/2 lb sauteed mushrooms
3 Tbsp flour

1. Simmer bacon pieces in small pot of water.  Rinse in cold water and pat dry.
2. Saute the bacon slowly in 2 Tbsp of the hot butter in a medium-sized pot or casserole dish until it is very lightly browned. Set aside
3. Dry chicken and brown it in the hot fat from the pot.
4. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. return the bacon to the pot. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once. 
5. Uncover, and pour in cognac. Averting your face (and crossing your fingers!) ignite the cognac with a lighted match. Shake the pot back and forth for several seconds until the flames subside. I promise they WILL subside although it may not seem like it at first.
6. Pour wine into pot. Add just enough chicken broth to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a simme and cover. Allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.
7. While the chicken is cooking prepare onions by adding 1-1/2 Tbsp butter and 1-1/2 Tbsp oil to a skillet. Heat the butter and oiling until bubbling. Add the onions and saute over moderate heat for about 10 minutes.  Then place them in a small baking dish lined with foil and put them in oven preheated to 350 for 45 minutes.
8. Next Saute the mushrooms by adding 1-1/2 Tbsp butter and 1-1/2 Tbsp oil to the same skillet. Add mushrooms and saute several minutes. 
9. After you have removed the chicken from pot, skim off as much fat as possible. Then raise heat and boil rapidly reducing the liquid to about 2 cups. 
10. Blend the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter with flour until a smooth paste is formed. Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a whisk, stirring for a minute or two.  The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
10. Arrange chicken on a serving dish (or individual plates). smother with mushrooms and onions and baste with sauce. 

This dish is excellent with garlic mashed potatoes, which is convenient because I just so happen to be addicted to mashed potatoes and look for any excuse I can to make them :)

Cook's Note:
You can also use Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, or Chianti


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