Like I mentioned in my "White Chili" post, I've been feeding the Missus and Her co-workers when She has to work on weekends. But there's just so much I can make before I hit the wall. I was wracking my grey matter trying to determine what to make....but while staring at some chicken legs, going for 49 cents a pound, I thought why not doa version of Coq Au Vin, the French chicken fricassee cooked in wine? When I told the Missus, She appeared skeptical, "isn't that French?"
Just keeping things fun, I decided to make this pretty much on the cheap. Not that Coq Au Vin is a fancy-schmansy dish mind you. After all, Coq Au Vin was originally a recipe that marked, ummm, the permanent retirement of a rooster. The chicken was just under 2 bucks, the pearl onions, just under 2 bucks.... the wine? You guessed it, 2 Buck Chuck....good ol' Charles Shaw. I thought of calling it "Chuck Au Vin", but that would've been a bit repetitive, right?
I'd made Coq Au Vin before, but looked for additional inspiration from various cookbooks I had lying around. And boy did the recipes differ! Anthony Bourdain's recipe in the Les Halles Cookbook did away with the flour dredge, and marinated the chicken in red wine overnight. Julia Child's classic recipe uses a brandy flambe, Mark Bittman in How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food, uses porcini mushrooms for flavoring, and so on. Some other differences, many recipes use tomato, I didn't have any at home, so cross that out. Also, most recipes use the "blanching technique" for the bacon or salt pork(guess which I used) to remove excess salt and the smoky flavor. I thought my dish would need all the help it could get, so I bypassed it.
After reducing the wine and sauce, I added a little twist of my own. I added a tablespoon of Demi Glace along with some butter to fortify the sauce. I thought it turned out well, considering. I made buttered egg noodles just to cover my bases. It was also pretty quick, clocking in at a total of 40 minutes prep, one-and-half hours simmer.
Sorta Coq Au Vin
3-4 lbs Chicken parts rinsed and dried
1/2 lb small white mushrooms
1/2 lb Pearl Onions
4 cloves garlic chopped
2 carrots roughly chopped
1 medium onion roughly chopped
2 ribs celery roughly chopped
1/4 lb Bacon sliced crosswise (lardon)
1 Bottle red wine
1-2 Cups chicken stock (optional)
2 Tb Butter
1 Tb Veal Demi Glace (optional)
2 Bays Leaves
3 sprigs Thyme
1/2 Cup flour
Salt and Pepper
1-2 Tb Olive Oil
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Chop root ends off of pearl onions. Place into boiling water for 1 minute. Allow onions to cool. You'll be able to pop those pearl onions out of their skin.
- Place chicken parts in a gallon ziploc bag. Add flour and shake to coat.Remove chicken from bag to a plate, shaking off excess flour.
- Brown bacon in a Dutch Oven or similar pot. When bacon is browned, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon.
- In the same pot, add pearl onions,add salt and pepper, and saute until slightly browned. Remove onions.
- Add olive oil if necessary, and brown chicken, working in batches. Remove the chicken when browned.
- Add 1 tablespoon of butter, and saute the mushrooms. Remove the mushrooms and set aside.
- Pour off excess fat, and add garlic, celery, onions, and carrots, and saute until vegetables are soft. Deglaze with 1 cup of the red wine, making sure to scrape up all those nice brown bits.
- Add the rest of the red wine, bay leaf, and thyme, and bring to a simmer.
- Add chicken back to pot and simmer; turning every 10-15 minutes until the chicken is done.
- When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pot, and strain cooking liquid.
- Pour strained liquid back into the pot and taste. Add chicken stock, salt and pepper if necessary.
- Reduce liquid by half. You may want to thicken with a classic Beurre Manie (a paste made with 1 tb each butter and flour made into a paste), or be like me and just add butter. I also added the Demi Glace because I had some.
- When sauce is thickened, add pearl onions and mushrooms back (and bacon if desired), and heat.
There you go Half Coq'd Au Vin
Serve with egg noodles.