Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Coq Au Vin

Coq au Vin, modified from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking
Meryl may not have won the Oscar, but your family may award you one after you make this dish!

The French have a different approach to cooking than we do, dishes are created with love and care for family and friends versus the “rush to get it on the table” philosophy so many of us subscribe to with soccer practice, homework, jobs and other obligations we all face. Each component brings different flavors to the dish and blended together these flavors just sing! There are also some differences due to the ingredients available to us today that were not available back in Julia’s day. For example, Julia simmers the bacon lardons before sautéing them to render the bacon fat in the beginning of the recipe to lower the salt content, I have found that bacon today is less salty and no longer requires this step.

If you are wondering what Coq au Vin is, well the best way I can describe it, is as Boeuf Bourgignon with chicken as the protein. What a wonderful hearty dish that goes well with boiled potatoes topped with Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread and fresh parsley. Enjoy!

Coq au Vin

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices of bacon, cut in small strips
3 pounds of chicken thighs, skin on (you can use the whole chicken, I got thighs on sale)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup cognac (optional, but fun)
1½ teaspoons tomato paste
3 cups full-bodied red wine
1-2 cups chicken stock (preferable beef or veal stock)
2 cloves garlic, creamed
¼ teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons allergen free flour
2 tablespoons olive oil or Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread

1 tablespoon olive oil
12-24 pearl onions
4 parsley stems
2 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
1 clove garlic, whole

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ pound mushrooms, sliced

Heat oven to 350°F.
Bring a stock pot full of water to a boil.
Once water is at boil add pearl onions with skin on.
Cook onions for 3 minutes and remove from boiling water and place in ice water to stop cooking.
Remove onions once cool, cut stem side and squeeze onion from it’s skin
Blot onions dry and set-aside.

Take a deep sauté pan and heat for one minute over medium heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat another minute.
Add bacon and cook until browned, remove and set aside.
Take chicken, blot dry and salt and pepper on both sides, add to pan and sear on both sides so skin has golden brown color.
Reduce heat to medium low and cook chicken, covered, slowly for 5 minutes on each side. Add bacon back to pan once chicken is flipped for second 5 minutes.
Once chicken has cooked a full 10 minutes, drain any excess fat from the pan and return to burner.

Add the cognac to the pan, it should light up easily with a gas burner, if you have an electric stove, you will need to light it with a match or lighter, make sure you are safe…
Remove pan immediately from heat and shake around, the flame will go out on it’s own.
Place pan back on burner and reduce cognac until almost dry.
Move chicken to side and smear tomato paste on bottom of pan to lightly brown.
Add wine and stock to pan, make sure to use the full 3 cups of red wine and finish off with stock to almost cover the chicken.
Add thyme, bay leaf and garlic to mixture, bring to a simmer and continue to simmer for 25-30 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, we are going to work on the onions and mushrooms, these components are prepared separately to have their own flavor separate from the wine.
Let’s start with the onions…

Take a sauté pan and heat it over a medium heat for one minute.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat another minute.
Add onions and sauté until browned on all sides.
Place parsley stems, garlic, thyme and bay leaf in cheese cloth (you can use a coffee filter in a pinch), put in bottom of baking dish and add onions on top.
Cover onions with chicken stock to cover 2/3rds of the way.
Place in oven and heat for 20-30 minutes or until onions are tender, set aside.

For the mushrooms…
Take a sauté pan and heat it over a medium heat for one minute.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat another minute.
Add mushrooms and sauté until browned, remove from heat and set aside.

Back to the chicken…
You can use the same sauté pan you used for the mushrooms.
Add the flour and oil/Earth Balance and make a paste (in French cooking this is called a roux), heat over low heat for 2-3 minutes to take chalky flavor out of flour, set aside.
Once the chicken has simmered for 30 minutes, remove chicken from pan and increase heat to medium high.
Add roux to wine mixture and using a wire whisk, stir mixture briskly.
Reduce sauce until it is nappe, this means that when you dip your spoon in the sauce and run your finger thru the sauce, it will keep it’s shape instead of dripping down where you ran your finger thru.

Place chicken on a platter, add onions and mushrooms.
Finally, strain sauce and pour over chicken, make sure to save for the side, you will be asked for more sauce!

Who says you can’t enjoy French cuisine with food allergies????
Not us!


Colette said...

Lisa, you are so brave taking on Julia's coq-au-vin! It looks awesome!

Lisa Cooks Allergen Free said...

Thanks Colette, I really enjoyed making it, French cuisine is so rich and intense with flavors, I just love it. My husband just informed me he ate the leftovers... I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed.