Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Coq au vin

Coq au Vin started out as a fabulous rustic dish, became a snooty favorite at fancy French restaurants, and has fortunately made its way back into something that we home cooks can make.  And make well.  This version is easy, but time-consuming.  Of course, a lot of the time is just simmering, so you really won't be chained to the stove.  The little touches at the end, like adding the pat of butter and splash of fresh wine, I learned from Cook's Illustrated a few years ago.  Don't skip them...they make the sauce just lovely!

Coq au Vin

1 bottle of Pinot Noir
2 c chicken broth
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1-2 bay leaves
6 oz thick-cut bacon, chopped into 1/2" pieces
3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
3 yellow onions, coarsely chopped
12 oz cremini or portabella mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T tomato paste
2-3 T flour

Save 2 T of the wine and set it aside.  Pour the rest plus the broth, 12 sprigs of parsley, thyme, and bay leaves to a simmer in a large saucepan.  Cook for about 25 minutes and discard the herbs. 

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a Dutch oven until brown, about 8 minutes.  Remove the bacon to a paper towel-covered plate and set aside.  Pour off most of the bacon grease, leaving a few T behind.

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Brown the chicken on all sides in the bacon grease.  Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add a couple T of butter to the Dutch oven and brown the onions and mushrooms for about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook to slightly softened.  Add the tomato paste and flour; cook and stir to combine.

Add wine mixture to deglaze the pot.  Bring to a boil with the chicken and bacon; reduce heat and simmer covered for about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.  Increase heat under sauce and thicken at a low boil for about 5 minutes.  Add the reserved wine and 2 to 3 T butter to the sauce.  Return the chicken and top with minced parsley.  Serve in a shallow bowl or with mashed potatoes. 

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