Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Coq au Vin Recipe

Coq au Vin Recipe
By: Chef Cristian

Coq au Vin is a classic French dish that translates simply to "Chicken with Wine". Although it's not for the calorie concious, it's certainly good for your soul! Rich sauce, pearl onions and the unmistakable aroma of herbs and bacon bring this chicken dish together. This is a good opportunity to use some of that left over cooking wine, and to use fresh herbs.

For this recipe you can use either white or dark chicken meat. I prefer dark meat because it's moist and more flavourful than white meat. But if you have picky guests, you can cut up a whole chicken into quarters and serve them white meat.

If I was serving this dish for a dinner party, I would roast some Cornish Game Hens (what the French call "Poussin") and serve this sauce over them for a fabulously French dish! No need to wear your Beret, this dish should Frenchify your evening all by itself!

- 4 Chicken Leg Quarters (or a whole chicken cut into 4 quarters)
- 2 Cups of Red Wine (or any left over wine you have around your kitchen)
- 2 Cups of Chicken Stock
- 1 Cup of Pearl Onions
- 1/2 Lb of Smoked Bacon
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 Sprig of Thyme
- Parsley
- 1 Cup of Small Button Mushrooms
- 2 Cloves of Garlic
- Flour
- Vegetable Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 Tsp of Paprika


1. The first step in all of my recipes is to prepare all your ingredients. This means, chopping, dicing, peeling, slicing, washing, everything you're going to need. You will prepare the following:
- Make the stock (either from scratch or from bullion) and keep it warm.
- Cut your chicken up into quarters if using a whole chiken and keep the skin on.
- Wash the mushrooms and, if small, keep them whole.
- Chop some parsley for garnish.
- Thaw the pearl onions if you bought them frozen.
- Mince the garlic cloves.

2. For the classic French recipe, you would first blanch (quickly boil) the bacon before slicing it. This takes some of the salty taste away. But I enjoy the full taste of the bacon, so I omit this step. Slice the bacon into thin slices called "Lardons". Add these to the pot and begin to cook them. Do this until some of the fat begins to render out of them, about 7 minutes.

3. Add the chicken to the pot and make sure to fry both sides. Do this for another 5 minutes.

4. Add the pearl onions, bay leaves, thyme, paprika and mushrooms. Add some salt to the chicken. This will help to bring the flavour out. Cook together for another 5-7 minutes.

5. Add the wine, stock and garlic and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

6. Mix a Roux in a small bowl by combining one cup of flour with enough oil to form a paste the same consistency as toothpaste. Mixing this with a fork works well. You will use this mixture to thicken the sauce.

7. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pot. You will be left with the sauce gently simmering. With a whisk, start adding a bit of roux and mixing it thoroughly until the sauce is thick enough for you liking. Use small amounts of roux at a time so that you don't over-thicken the sauce. Mix the roux into the sauce quickly using a whisk so that you don't get any lumps. Once you have reached your desired thickness, adjust the salt and pepper to taste and add the chicken back to the sauce. Cook for another 10-15 minutes on med low heat.
8. When ready to serve, remove the bay leaves and sprig of thyme from the sauce. Sprinkle with fresh Parsley. You can serve this dish with creamy mashed potato, fragrant rice pilaf or any starchy side that will absorb the sauce. Bon appetit!

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