Friday, May 1, 2009

Recipes To Rival: Coq Au Vin

Things are getting a little crazy around here. I have been busy getting ready for a shindig we are having later this month. Baking and freezing away like a squirrel hoarding nuts for the winter. I am a little worried about whether or not it will still be okay in light of the swine/human flu floating around. As if we did not have enough to worry about with the economy, then, whew, here we go again with another something to worry about. Makes me ill. Physically ill thinking about my children and their safety. But then I took a step back and thought I really have no control over what will happen and who really knows what will happen. I will take it one day at a time. Although we won't be licking our fingers after a trip to the grocery store, we sure won't be hiding ourselves away either. Maybe this crazy little virus will morph itself into a cold. Let's pray that it does exactly that. In the mean time....

Here is one of those recipes that I have always wanted to try but wonder when I would have made it. Other things always take precedence. It won me over right away with its' incredible taste and comforting ways.

Our host Temperance of High on the Hog chose the recipe, Anthony Bourdains Coq Au Vin. The only thing I changed was that I added some garlic. I just couldnt picture the stew without it. I served it with some crusty bread I had made and it was great for sopping up the amazing tasting broth, slurp. I would definitely make this again.

Coq au vin
from the Les Halles Cookbook, by Anthony Bourdain, Serves 4

1 bottle/1 liter plus 1 cup/225 ml of red wine
1 onion, cut into a 1-inch/2.5 cm dice
1 carrot, cut into ¼-inch/6-mm slices
1 celery rib, cut into ½ inch/1-cm slices
4 whole cloves
1 tbs/14 g whole black peppercorns
1 bouquet garni
1 whole chicken, about 3.5 lb/1.35 kg, “trimmed” – meaning guts, wing tips and neckbone removed

salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbs/28 ml olive oil
6 tbs/75 g butter, softened
1 tbs/14 g flour
¼ lb/112 g lardons
½ lb/ 225 g small, white button mushrooms, stems removed
12 pearl onions, peeled
pinch of sugar

3 large, deep bowls
plastic wrap
fine strainer
large Dutch oven or heavy –bottomed pot
wooden spoon
small sauté pan
small sauce pan
1 sheet parchment paper
deep serving platter

The day before you even begin to cook, combine the bottle of red wine, the diced onion (that’s the big onion, not the pearl onions), sliced carrots, celery, cloves, peppercorns, and bouquet garni in a large deep bowl. Add the chicken and submerge it in the liquid so that all of it is covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat it dry. Put it aside. Strain the marinade through the fine strainer, reserving the liquids and solids separately. Season the chicken with salt and pepper inside and out. In the large Dutch oven, heat the oil and 2tablesppoons/28 g of the butter until almost smoking, and then sear the chicken, turning it with the tongs to evenly brown it. Once browned, it should be removed from the pot and set it aside again. Add the reserved onions, celery, and carrot to the pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and golden brown. That should take about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix well with the wooden spoon so that the vegetables are coated. Now stir in the reserved strained marinade. Put the chicken back in the pot, along with the bouquet garni. Cook this for about 1 hour and 15 minutes over low heat.

Have a drink. You’re almost there…

While your chicken stews slowly in the pot, cook the bacon lardons in the small sauté pan over medium heat until golden brown. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain it on paper towels, making sure to keep about 1 tablespoon/14 g of fat in the pan. Saute the mushroom tops in the bacon fat until golden brown. Set them aside.

Now, in the small saucepan, combine the pearl onions, the pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 2tablespoons/28 g of butter. Add just enough water to just cover the onions; then cover the pan with the parchment paper trimmed to the same size of the pan. (I suppose you can use foil if you must.) Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the water has evaporated. Keep a close eye on it. Remove the paper cover and continue to cook until the onions are golden brown. Set the onions aside and add the remaining cup/225 ml of red wine along with salt and pepper and reduce over medium-high heat until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

Your work is pretty much done here. One more thing and then it’s wine and kudos…

When the chicken is cooked through – meaning tender, the juice from the thigh running clear when pricked – carefully remove from the liquid, cut into quarters, and arrange on the deep serving platter. Strain the cooking liquid (again) into the reduced red wine. Now just add the bacon, mushrooms, and pearl onions, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons/28 g of butter. Now pour that sauce over the chicken and dazzle your friends with your brilliance. Serve with buttered noodles and a Bourgone Rouge.

1. An old bird is best, hard to find though. Ideally you are looking for a stew chicken or an old rooster, I recommend a Kosher or Halal meat market (remember they have no pork though).
2. Bouquet garni is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string, most recipes include parsley, thyme and bay leaf
3. Lardon may refer to different pork products cut from a pig's belly and used for larding in French cuisine. In this case you are looking for slab or country bacon, cut into small oblongs (lardons) about ¼ by 1 inch. I used salt pork, which did not smell like bacon cooking but tasted pretty good. Either way a good thick bacon with alot of nice fat and not alot of additives is what you are looking for.
4. the wine should be red, other than that pick what suits your pallet and wallet. But here is a helpful guide as well, Wine With...Coq au Vin
* I used a coffee filter for my bouquet garni. You can see it floating there.


kat said...

Adding garlic to it was brilliant! As for worrying about the flu, keep in mind in a normal year 36,000 people die from the flu in the US so just make sure to do what you normally would to stay healthy.

Anonymous said...

Like the music here, Lori! xox

Mary said...

What a terrific job. Lori, as to the flu...take normal precautions, bring in some extra supplies and then let it go. Worry is like an ulcer that eats at you, but only if you let it.

The Blonde Duck said...

We saw this on Alton Brown the other day and Ben's been demanding it ever since!

Sara said...

It looks great! I also love your cute serving bowl :) (and I also looove looove my dutch ovens, they are like my babies)


Sheila said...

I have been wanting to make this too for about 2 years! I have not done it yet since I just never seem to have the time or notion to plan that far ahead. You certainly make it sound delicious and worth the effort! Thanks for all the tips too:)

Murasaki Shikibu said...

This is really making me really looks very very appetizing!

Madam Chow said...

I love your coffee filter idea. I, too, added some garlic, and I'm glad I did, because my husband loved what I did and wants me to make this again.

JMom said...

That's why I like these challenges as they always give me the push to make the things that I've been meaning to but never got around to it. I love garlic and would have added it too but since I wasn't sure how coq au vin is supposed to taste like, I decided to stick to the recipe. Next time, I'll play more with the flavors.

JMom ~ Cooked from the Heart

Temperance said...

the coffee filter was a great Idea. Your picture turned out pretty good too. I wish I had the forethought to get some nice crusty bread (and add garlic). I really have been in a soup mood lately and this fit the bill great.