Nope, this is not a tale about Sweetie getting sloshed. After a couple of posts with offbeat dishes like spicy gingerbread doughnuts and bacon truffles, it seems like time to look at something more classic.
Originally this dish was made by thrifty French housewives with rooster, not hen and the old bird was braised to tenderize him. Since I don't have access to old roosters, I made my Coq au Vin with chicken breast and thigh meat and a good, drinkable, red wine. This dish comes off as high end, fancy food, but really it is comfort food.
Served with some good bread to soak up the juices, and over mashed potatoes, as I did, and with a nice salad, it makes a delicious meal that is easy but is la-de-dah enough to impress guests. It's also great for a romantic meal...and then there will be leftovers.
Coq au Vin
2 Slices bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 lb (8 oz.) fresh muchrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
3.5 - 4 lbs mixed skinless checken breasts (boneless) & thighs (bones OK)
1 cup dry red wine
1 - 14 oz can chicken broth or 14 oz homemade broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup whole small onions (jarred, canned, ro frozen for ease)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Heat a Dutch oven or heavy, covered pot over medium high heat. Brown the bacon, stirring occasionally. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
To the Dutch oven add chopped onion. Saute 3 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms. Saute another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the pan and set aside. Wipe any remaining bits from the pan with a paper towel.
Add olive oil to pan. When hot add half the chicken, browning on both sides. Remove from pan and set aside. Brown the remaining chicken on both sides. Set aside.
Deglaze the pan with the red wine, then add the broth, tomato paste, small onions, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir. Return the bacon and chicken to the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, about 25 minutes, until the chickne juices run clear when pierced. Remove the bay leaves and discard.
Refrigerate overnight to blend flavors (optional).
Return mixture to a simmer.
Make a roux by melting the 4 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour. Cook over low heat a few minutes to brown lightly.
Whisk the roux into the coq au vin. Stir gently around the chicken pieces as the roux thickens the gravy.
Serve in wide, shallow soup bowls, over mashed potatoes, with a sprinkle of chopped parsley over all.
Note: Leftovers are, perhaps, even better than the original serving. Bon appetit!