Thursday, October 2, 2008

coq au vin for Thursday night

I found chicken quarters on special at my market today. I was not shopping for chicken but the weather is finally delightfully fall-ish here, so it seemed a good plan to make coq au vin. I consulted with Julia Child, and also with Ruth (Gourmet Cookbook and Magazine editor) Reichl.  Here is what I ended up doing. Most of this stuff you'll probably have around this time of year:

for 2-3 people
3 whole chicken legs (includes thighs)
2 carrots
some mushrooms
a large onion
at least 1 cup dry white wine ( if you don't keep wine around, buy a bottle of Noilly Pratt or other good quality dry vermouth and keep in your cupboard for cooking)
some chicken stock (please, not the salty cubes... canned at least)
sprig of thyme from the pots on your deck. Or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
4 cloves of garlic

Cut chicken into thighs and drumsticks. 
Wipe off chicken and remove any weird bits or extra skin. Generously salt and pepper each piece. 
Cut up 4 pieces of bacon into squares and put in a heavy bottomed pot, not a frying pan. Sides need to be at least 4" tall. Brown the bacon on medium heat. Put aside the bacon. Discard 1/2 of the bacon fat. 
Add a little olive oil to the bacon fat, and brown your chicken in this, about 6 minutes on each side.

Remove chicken from pan , and drain off a lot of the fat. Cut up a large onion, or 2 medium onions into quarters. Cut up 2 carrots into 1" lengths, and cut the fat end in half lengthwise, so it is more like the other pieces. If you have celery, you could add a rib, also cut up.

Add to veg to hot fat, cook over medium heat til browning, stirring once or twice. 

When vegetables are starting to brown,  add the chicken,  and the bacon pieces back in, a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme (a small amt. of dried tarragon is good, too,  about 1/2 tsp.) and nearly cover the chicken with 1/2 chicken broth and 1/2 white wine. Also, I added 4 peeled and smashed cloves of garlic, because I love garlic. Scrape up the browned bits in the bottom of the pan and stir into the liquid. 

Cover the pot and turn burner to low. Cook for about 45 minutes-1 hour. Remove chicken and veg and put on platter. Now as for those onions, you can plate them with the other veg, or just forget them.  Take the cooked garlics and mash against the side of the pot with the back of a spoon. Stir into sauce.

You will want to thicken this sauce after you put the chicken on a platter. Make a buerre manie, which means mash up some butter (approx. 1T) and twice as much flour together(2T) and add this to the sauce. Cook uncovered, on med high, stirring. If you have cognac or brandy, it would be good to add a couple of T of this as well.

In a smallish frying pan, brown your mushrooms quickly over high heat in a little olive oil, add to pile of chicken. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.

As for me, I am not sure if I will thicken the sauce. I may serve the chicken, veg and unthickened sauce (perhaps will add 2T heavy cream) in soup bowls with hunks of good bread, or maybe steamed yukon potatoes.  

And a nice little spinach salad dressed with lemon and olive oil. 

1 comment:

Libba said...

Ellen made this for us for dinner and it is definitely a winner. You will love it.