Oh man, I have just eaten the best chicken I have ever made. We invited my parent over for dinner tonight. I have long wanted to make Coq Au Vin and decided that tonight would be the night. I used Julia Child’s recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking and it was fantastic. I did not use a whole cut up chicken however, instead I used some boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs I had in the freezer left over from another meal. Also, instead of making the brown-brasied onions and sauteed mushrooms while the chicken was cooking, I made them ahead of time:
18 – 24 peeled white onions. I used pearl onions
1-1/2 Tablespoons butter
1-1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup beef broth
Parsley, Thyme, and Bay leaf tied up in cheesecloth (I use a large tea infuser instead of the cheescloth)
Heat the butter and oil over moderate heat in a saucepan. When they are bubbling, add the onions and saute, rolling the onions around so they brown as evenly as possible. (You cannot expect them to brown uniformly).
Add enough beef broth to cover the onions and add the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer until the onions are tender but still retain their shape and most of the liquid has evaporated. Julia says 40-50 minutes but it took only about 25 minutes on my stove. Remove the herb bouquet.
Set aside until called for in the Coq Au Vin recipe.
1/2 lb fresh button mushrooms, washed, dried, and sliced
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Place the skillet over high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as the butter foam begins to subside, add the mushrooms. As soon as the mushrooms have browned lightly, remove from heat. Set aside until called for in the Coq Au Vin recipe.
Coq Au Vin
2-3 lbs cut up frying chicken (I used skinless boneless breasts and thighs instead)
4 oz bacon
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/8 Teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup cognac
3 cups Burgundy, Beaujolais, or Chianti
1-2 cups chicken stock
1/2 Tablespoon Tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 Teaspoon Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
3 Tablespoons Flour
2 Tablespoons softened butter
Cut the bacon into strips about 1 inch long and 1/4 inch wide. Simmer for 10 minutes in 2 quarts water. Drain, rinse in cold water, and dry. Put the 2 Tablespoons butter in a saute pan, saucepan, or casserole over moderate heat. Saute the bacon until lightly browned. Remove the bacon from the pan (leaving the bacon grease in the pan) and set it aside.
Brown the chicken in the bacon grease. Season the chicken with the 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Return the bacon to the pan. Cover and cook on a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes.
Uncover and pour in the cognac. Averting your face, ignite the cognac. Shake the pan back and forth until the flames dye out. Pour the wine into the pan. Add just enough chicken stock to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until chicken is tender (I used my instant-read thermometer. When the chicken is at least 165F it’s done.)
Remove the chicken from the pan, leaving the cooking liquid in the pan. Raise the heat and boil the cooking liquid rapidly until about 2 cups remain. Blend the 3 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons softened butter into a smooth paste, then beat it into the cooking liquid with a whisk. Simmer and stir for a minute ot too. The result should be a nice sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
Reheat the onions and mushrooms if necessary. Arrange the chicken on a platter. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Arrange the onions on one side of the chicken and the mushrooms on the other and serve.
Serves 4 – 6