This recipe isn’t a traditional coq au vin since I used the mirepoix and omit the pearl onions, but it’s sill delicious. You can easily substitute any kind of meat in this hearty stew and have something warm on a cold winter night.
- 4-6 Chicken pieces – I used a combo legs, thighs, and wings
- 1 Bottle of red wine preferably a pinot noir
- 2 cups of stock
- Half a onion
- 3 carrots
- a stalk of celery
- 1/2 a pound mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3 oz of bacon or salt pork or comparably salty cured fatty meat
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-3 Sprigs of fresh thyme
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Salt and pepper
- Few leaves of fresh basil or flat leaf parsley for garnish
Braising – The basics
The basic idea of braising is to take a cheap and usually tough cut of meat and to cook it slowly for a long time thus tenderizing it and making it edible. Traditionally coq au vin is made with a stewing chicken which isn’t exactly finger licking tender right out of fridge.
True story: Forgetting to put on pants in the morning would be disastrous. Forgetting to prep an ingredient can have similar results.
Chop your celery, 1 carrot and onions into a fine dice. Peel the remaining carrots and just roughly cut them into 1 inch seconds. Slice the mushrooms. Rinse and dry off your chicken pieces and also cut your bacon into small1 /2 inch squares or 1/4-1/2 inch cubes depending on if its sliced or not. Liberally, salt and pepper the chicken.
Heat a heavy dutch oven or soup pot on medium heat. Add the bacon and render its fat until its golden brown.
Remove the bacon and pour away any excess fat. You want about 1 tbsp of the delicious rendered goodness in the pot for the next step. Place the pot back on the stove and turn it up to medium high. Add the chicken to the pot skin side down and fry until brown which should take 5-10 minutes. Turn chicken and brown the other side.
Remove the chicken from the pot and again pour away any excess fat until you have about 1-2 tbsp left. Now you’re thinking the pot is pretty dirty at this point considering all the dark bits and oil you have going. It’s ok. Dirty is good. All those carmelized brown bits have been our ultimate goal. The french call this stuff fond and its worth its weight in flavorful gold.
Anyways, add the diced vegetables to the pan and cook on medium until the onions are slightly translucent. At this point you can add the rest of the carrots and mushrooms and saute for a minute or two. Now uncork your wine and set aside a glass. Pour the rest into the pan making sure you scrape the bottom with a wood or plastic spoon to release all the delicious bits we’ve been squirreling away. Place the chicken back in and add the stock, bay leaves and thyme. Bring the whole thing to a soft boil. At this point you should have something that looks similar to whats below.
No matter what. No matter how good it looks. Even if someone is going to pay you to take a swill. Even if Tom Riddle’s locket has fallen in. Do not taste this hell broth. I can guarantee to you it’s going to be nasty. Very nasty.
Turn your stove down to the lowest it can go while still maintaining a very soft boil and periodically skim away any foamy scum that may collect on the top. At this point take that glass of wine I asked you to reserve earlier and take a large sip. The hard part is over. Let everything simmer for about an hour. If the sauce hasn’t reduced by 1/3 remove the chicken and boil it off until that state is reached. Salt and pepper the sauce to taste. Stir in a tablespoon of butter if it still isn’t thick enough.
Are you being served?
Place chicken in bowl. Spoon the vegetables and sauce over. Sprinkle some chopped parsley/basil and enjoy.