Sunday, April 12, 2009

Coq au Vin

Spring has officially sprung here in Virginia. It's clear, sunny and cool. A perfect day for the Coq au Vin our friend requested I make. Now, I don't know if Coq au Vin is necessarily considered a spring dish b/c it's pretty hardy. However, for today, it's really the perfect meal.

Beyond the Coq au Vin, I want you to take a close look at the label of the mini-cognac I used in the recipe. Notice the TWA? If I remember correctly, it's been a while since TWA has been in business. Not sure how old this little guy is, but he still had that amazing aroma that hits the nose the second you opened him up. So, into the pot he went!
I inherited this tasty treasure from a friend whose uncle who used to travel all the time and collect mini-bottles. He had such a collection that he passed a chunk off to my buddy. Lucky for me, my friend doesn't drink cognac. Nor do I, typically, but I knew I would eventually cook with it! So, into my pocket it went. And I've enjoyed thinking about the adventures this small vial of delightful flavor went on before it became part of my Easter meal. :)

I used Ina Garten's shorthand recipe for Coq au Vin and have to say that it's a keeper. I drooled from the second the bacon hit the olive oil, until the last bite went in my mouth--

Coq Au Vin
courtesy, Ina Garten

2 tablespoons good olive oil
4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.
*Note- Ina is a bit heavy handed with the salt, you would do well to back off of her amounts listed here.


Katie said...

YUM! One of my favorite dishes!

Joelen said...

This looks delicious and hearty!