The French seem to really love their chicken. I was just craving some homey, classic, filling food as the weather starts cooling down. Coq au vin really hit the spot. Now, I did not have a rooster for this dish, so there is a disclaimer that this is not completely authentic.
I also didn't marinate the chicken in the wine before cooking, which many recipes call for. I think I might try that next time to see how much of a difference it makes, but I did not think this version was lacking flavor at all. In fact, the intensity of the wine and mushroom flavor - set off by the sweet pearl onions and the salty bacon - was really perfect for my taste. I almost felt like we were back in Paris, and it prompted J-Cat to say that he wants to do that whole trip over again, with more foods. Recipe after the jump:
COQ AU VIN
Adapted from Simply Recipes
1/2 lb bacon slices
20 pearl onions, peeled (blanch in boiling water to ease peeling)
3 lbs chicken thighs and legs, excess fat trimmed, skin ON
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 garlic cloves, peeled
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups red wine, preferably pinot noir
2 bay leaves
Several fresh thyme sprigs
Several fresh parsley sprigs
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped
2 Tbsp butter
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Blanch the bacon to remove some of its saltiness. Drop the bacon into a saucepan of cold water, covered by a couple of inches. Bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes, drain. Rinse in cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Cut the bacon into 1 inch by 1/4 inch pieces.
Salt and pepper the chicken parts. Place in a large resealable plastic bag with the flour and shake to coat the chicken. Shake off the excess flour and set aside.
Brown bacon on medium high heat in a dutch oven big enough to hold the chicken in one layer, about 10 minutes. Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon, set aside. Keep the bacon fat in the pan. Working in batches if necessary, add onions and chicken, skin side down. Brown the chicken well, on all sides, about 10 minutes. Halfway through the browning, add the garlic.
Discard any excess fat. Add the chicken stock, wine, and herbs (it is easiest to tie the herbs into a bouquet garni). Add back the bacon. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove chicken and onions to a separate platter. Remove the bay leaves, herb sprigs, garlic, and discard.
Add mushrooms to the remaining liquid and turn the heat to high. Boil quickly and reduce the liquid by three fourths until it becomes thick and saucy. Lower the heat, stir in the butter. Return the chicken and onions to the pan to reheat and coat with sauce. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Serves 6. Serve with potatoes or over egg noodles.