a baker's dozen:coq au vin

Monday, February 21, 2011
I drool as I write this post because I am thinking about good this meal was.

It's chicken stewed in wine. Red wine to be exact. How could I not love it? Did I also mention it's cooked along with thick chunks of bacon, pearl onions and a mix of shitake and button mushrooms. Amazing.

Button mushrooms look like they should be in Super Mario Bros.

Now for you French cooking wonders out there, I know this is a shortened version of the original which takes hours upon hours to make, along with flambe-ing, marinating and butchering the chicken at home, etc etc.

Well I started that way, then things kind of went off track.

I was going to make a coq au vin recipe from Bon Appetit, which involves marinating the entire chicken for a day in a red wine / herb mix. I had full intention of this until Friday afternoon.

Which is about when the husband phoned me to tell me that one of his co-workers took his car/house/life keys home by accident. Oh, and this co-worker does not have a cell phone (I know it's 2011, what the heck ?!?) and takes the bus to and from work. Epic work fail.

Instead of shopping and marinating for my classic coq au vin, I had to bail out the husband. He did redeem himself by buying me a strongbow at the pub and going for a long walk on Sunday, but it threw a wrench in my chicken-stewed-in-wine plans!

Luckily, my severe addiction to food blogs, namely thekitchn, bailed me out once again. They posted a recipe for 30 minute coq au vin a few months ago.

Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Being that I've never made the original, I don't think I will after using this recipe. It was unreal. The chicken was perfectly cooked by braising away in the wine sauce, the mushrooms and onions were perfectly seasoned by the bacon and fresh thyme. We slurped it all up, every last drop with chunks of crusty french baguettes.

30 Minute Coq au Vin
[ from thekitchn ]

kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 - 3 pound chicken, broken up into 8 pieces*
1 cup sliced mushrooms, I used shitakes and button mushrooms
1/2 cup 1/2 -inch cube bacon
3/4 cup pearl onions, peeled and trimmed
2 medium carrots, cut into large bite-sized pieces
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups dry, fruity wine (zinfandel, burgundy, I used a Shiraz)
1 cup chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 whole springs fresh thyme

Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper and set aside.

Over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven, something big enough to hold all the chicken and with a lid, brown the bacon about 5-8 minutes. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Turn up the heat to medium high and add the chicken, skin side down. Turn the pieces as they begin to brown, cook for about 10 minutes or until each side has been browned. Drain off any excess fat. Add carrots, garlic, tomato paste, wine, chicken stock, bay leaves and thyme. Lower the heat so you have barely a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken pieces and place on a platter. Skim any excess fat of the top of the sauce. Turn the heat up to a boil and add the mushrooms. Cook until you have reduced the sauce by a third or even a half. Remove the bay leaves and thyme. Add chicken back into liquid a few minutes before serving to reheat.

Serve each chicken piece with a large ladleful of sauce and a nice chunk of crusty baguette.

* you can ask your butcher to cut up a whole chicken for you or use 6-8 chicken thighs