Holy shit, I suck at this. That’s ok. I’m posting today, so there.
I was going to wax philosophic but I don’t feel like it. I’d rather talk about food.
I cooked coq au vin, and it was pretty damn tasty. I altered it a bit from what I consider to be the “best” version, a la Julia Child.
I halved this easily, and estimated here and there. No flour, but yes booze.
Coq au Vin
1/2 lb thick cut bacon
24 or so pearl onions, peeled, or 1 large onion, sliced
3-4 lbs chicken thighs and/or legs/or whatever parts preferred, bone in, skin on (Or buy a chicken and break it down)
6 garlic cloves, peeled
salt and pepper to taste
2 c chicken stock
1/4 c cognac or bourbon
2 c red wine (burgundy, cotes du rhone etc)
1/2 T tomato paste
2 bay leaves
Thyme, a few fresh sprigs (or dry if that’s all you have)
Parsley, a few fresh sprigs (see note on thyme)
1/2 lb mushrooms, rough chop
2 T butter
Parsley sprigs for garnish (if you care)
–I went with one pot, all the way through. There were bowls involved, but bowls > pots in the sink. If I had a dutch oven that would have been what I’d use, but I don’t, so I used a 6 quart pot, it held half this recipe.
–This is a dish that really likes being made in advance. It tastes great when prepared, and I think even better the next day. I suppose it can be made even healthier than this. Less bacon, less butter, less wine for stock, even less chicken skin (the horror). I like it like this, and this serves at least 4, closer to 6.
–Bacon and chicken should be on the dry side when added to the pot, unless you like hot fat splatter.
–I did not prepare the onions and mushrooms each separately because I didn’t want to. If I go that route I’m sure the flavors will have a lot more depth and such. This tasted just fine though.
Cut bacon into lardons (bacon “sticks”- @ 1″x1/4″ pieces). Julia simmers/blanches her bacon for 5-10 minutes in a saucepan. Maybe I’ll do it next time. Reasons vary from muting the smoky/salty aspects to firming it up. Like I said, maybe next time. Brown the bacon over medium-high heat until until it’s on the lesser to medium range of cooked. Remove the bacon, leaving the rendered fat in the pot.
Add the chicken, skin side down. Add the onions. Brown the chicken well on all sides. Leave it alone while it browns. It should lift from the pot easily, if it doesn’t, leave it a few more minutes before turning. Halfway through browning add the garlic. Total browning time, depending on the size will probably be between 10-15 minutes. Don’t crowd the chicken, this can be done in batches, or get a larger pot. I used quarters, which are thighs and legs connected. I’m going to split them next time. While browning, season with salt and pepper, I hit the underside while the top was browning and vice versa.
If there is excessive fat renders, spoon some off. Turn off the stove burner. Pour the cognac over the chicken. Carefully light it with a match and gently shake the pot for a few seconds until the flame extinguishes. Relight the stove burner. Add the bacon, stock, wine, and herbs, and tomato paste. Reduce to a simmer and cover for at least 20 minutes, again depending on the size of the chicken. Simmer until liquid runs clear when the chicken is pierced. Safe temperature is 165 degrees F. Remove the chicken, bacon and onions. Discard the bay leaves, and if you used fresh thyme and parsley, the sprigs. I kept the garlic, but it may be discarded also (whatever).
Add the mushrooms to the liquid and raise the heat to high. Reduce it by @ 3/4 volume. It should thicken up quite a bit. Lower the heat and add the butter. Add the chicken, bacon and onions back to the pot to coat with sauce. Adjust seasoning as needed. Garnish if you care and serve.
If I wanted to spend more time and have more pots to wash, I would prepare braised onions and sauteed mushrooms while the chicken was simmering. There are numerous ways to do that, and Julia did it best, in my opinion.