But before I do that, do you know that I always thought that browning something in a pan before cooking it in a casserole pot was a pain in the rear end? Those were back in my lazy and ignorant days, days where I did not know much about cooking (not that I know that much more now) and I did not know the importance of browning. Learning to cook changed all that. The reason for making this point here? You need to brown the chicken going into the Coq Au Vin and it's rather tedious in my opinion. Yes, I said it, I think browning is tedious. Important but tedious.
I had fun with this recipe because there were so many bits a pieces to it and I was in the mood. It's not terribly complicated or difficult to make, but lining up the ingredients and getting it all ready to plonk into the casserole pot took a bit (either that or I'm just slow!).
Here's the RECIPE:
- 8 pieces of chicken thigh with bone and skin on (2 pieces per person)
- 60gram butter
- 4 bacon rashers, chopped
- 16 baby onions
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 500ml dry red wine
- 250ml brown or white chicken stock
- 60ml brandy
- 2tbsp tomato paste
- 250gram button mushrooms
- Cut chicken into serving size pieces and toss in flour.
- Melt butter in a large frying pan and brown the chicken.
- Remove chicken from the pan and set aside, keep warm.
- Drain all but 1tbsp of fat from the pan.
- Add onions and sauté until onions are browned.
- Add bacon and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add red wine, brandy, stock and tomato paste and herbs
- Return chicken to pan, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add mushrooms and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning to taste.
The Coq Au Vin turned out to be very tasty and very rich.
I made 16 pieces of chicken, so my recipe was a bit larger than the one above, since I was feeding 8 people. Also, my chicken thigh pieces were very large, so it ended up filling my casserole pot right to the brim. In fact, it was so full that by the time I added the mushrooms at the end, the gravy was spilling over and I had to scoop up a bowl of it to avoid a small lake around my stove top. I did add that bowl of gravy back in later after some of the liquid had boiled down.
The chicken thighs are very tasty but does have some fat in it. The cooking will melt the fat off the chicken and you'll end up with an oily layer on the top. Skim that off with a spoon and discard.
The bacon in the recipe adds a lot of flavor to the dish, so there's no need to put salt into it. If you do want to add salt, taste it first before doing so. You don't want to over season.
I used a bottle of the 1989 Lindemans St George from the Hunter Valley, which is a Cabernet Sauvignon and a bit of 2001 Cockfighter's Ghost Shiraz also from the Hunter Valley. I know you're going to think: what? a 1989 vintage? Shouldn't you be drinking something of that vintage?? but the wine is past it's peak and was slightly off. It's still drinkable but The Boy is fussy about his wine and decided that it would be real nice for cooking - which it was.
The gravy from the dish is fabulous. We had it on the night with truffle mash potatoes but with the leftovers, I cooked up some spaghetti and used the gravy as my spaghetti sauce. It was super yummy.
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