[general recipe at end of this post]
- Here's what this recipe claims:
"Put together and on the table far faster than I would have thought (in about one hour, give or take), this coq au vin proves that classic French, cooking can fit into any schedule."A word to the wise: don't rely on this promise. You can immediately disprove it by reading through the recipe, at which point you will see that the the times specified for the individual steps add up to nearly 2 hours, without even counting time for chopping and prep. This recipe took us 2.5 - 3 hours, start to eating (one step, reducing the sauce, took us double the estimated time).
- This is a classic braised dish: brown chicken and set aside, saute vegetables in the same pan, add liquid and simmer chicken + vegetables until chicken is tender. Then reduce/thicken the sauce before serving all together.
- We used just over 4 lbs chicken - 2 large breasts and 6 small thighs.
- I had just 7 oz of mushrooms, so we were a bit short.
- 2 cups of pearl onions weighed 8 oz or more, not the 5 oz. the recipe says. We used the 8 oz. This would have been too many onions if we'd had the proper amount of mushrooms.
- Because of the size of our chicken pieces, we put the light meat and dark meat in at the same time, and it was all cooked in about 35 minutes of simmering.
- Reducing the sauce took a really long time. I don't think I'd reduce the sauce quite so much next time - 2 cups of sauce for 8 pieces of chicken means just 1/4 cup per piece - not much to cover a piece of chicken and some noodles! It would also be nice to have less time standing at the stove!
- We served the chicken with Light 'n Fluffy Extra Wide Egg Noodles - which are the noodles that are the highest rated by the Cook's Illustrated tasters (along with Black Forest Girl brand).
- For once, I think the number of servings in the recipe was too low - this would serve 6 people rather than 4 (at 4 servings, that would be a pound of chicken per person).
The end result was well worth the time and effort! The sauce was rich and brown and the layers of flavors and aromas were fantastic. Even though the chicken was nice and tender my husband said he'd simmer the chicken longer next time so it would be falling off the bones. The thigh meat was far better than the breast - we would do all dark meat in the future.
Goodness knows I'm not one to shy away from bacon, but we actually thought the bacon garnish detracted from the other flavors. Next time I'd skip the bacon and just use some reserved bacon fat from my freezer for browning the chicken.
The noodles were great with this dish.
This recipe is a serious contender for being our favorite "Fairly Complicated Chicken Recipe." We spent a bit of time debating whether it was more delicious than the Country Captain that we made a few weeks ago, and then finally realized it was like trying to choose a favorite child! (note to our children: although you are very different, you are equally wonderful and we love you both the same!) OK, Coq au Vin when you need a special "chicken + noodles" dish and Country Captain when you need that wonderful "chicken + rice". . .
I'm sending this over to Ruth for this week's Presto Pasta Night roundup (#107). Head over there on Friday to see a wonderful variety of noodle-y dishes.
Coq au Vin
Here are the ingredients:
6 oz thick-cut bacon, chopped medium (I used 4 oz of Benton's bacon)
4 lb. bone-in skin-on chicken pieces (CI says to use at least half dark meat for maximum flavor)
10 oz. white mushrooms (I used 5 oz white + 2 oz wild mushrooms)
5 oz frozen pearl onions, thawed (c. 2 cups)
1 T. tomato paste
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 T. unbleached flour
1 bottle - 750 ml - red wine (medium body)
2.5 cups chicken broth
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves (1/4 tsp dried)
2 bay leaves
2 T. unsalted butter
2 T. minced fresh parsley leaves
... And summarized directions:
First cook the bacon, remove it, then brown the chicken pieces in two batches, removing them to a plate when cooked.
Pour off most of the fat. Brown the mushrooms and onions, then add garlic and tomato paste, cook briefly, then add the flour for a minute.
Add the wine, broth, thyme and bay leaves to the pot, then the chicken. Cover and simmered until the chicken is fully cooked and tender - about an hour for the dark meat. (White meat cooks faster, so should be added after the dark has cooked for a while. We judged this based on the size of our pieces of chicken.)
Remove the cooked chicken and let it rest while the sauce reduces to around 2 cups (the recipe says 20 minutes, but it was well over 40 minutes. I wouldn't reduce it so much - the extra sauce will not go to waste!) Then stir in the butter and season the sauce. Pour over the chicken pieces, garnish with bacon and parsley.