Coq au Vin – Chicken in Wine
Happy Friday! Fashion week is over and I finally got to have a chance to cook as much as I want. Today I will share a recipe of a french north eastern dish from the region of Bourgogne and Alsace, Coq au Vin.
Yes, Coq au Vin literally translates to English as cock in wine. But nowadays people rarely use roosters anymore, so we use chicken, and braise it with mushroom, bacon, and a rich wine sauce. I hope this dish gives you some inspiration for what to cook this weekend!
It might sound exotic to some people, but using alcohol in food is not unprecedented in many country’s gourmet. In Asian food, strong alcohol is often used in pan fried dishes for the burning taste. Live shrimps are soaked into alcohol to sterilize them from bacteria, and, of course, to drunken them so they can be eaten alive.
To make this dish, you need:
A 3- to 4-ounce chunk of bacon
3 to 3 1/2 pounds cut-up frying chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup cognac (optional, but I didn’t use it this time)
4 cups young, full-bodied red wine such as Burgundy, Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Chianti
2 to 3 cups brown chicken stock, brown stock or canned beef bouillon
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cloves mashed garlic
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
1 onion and two shallots, diced
1 pound of quartered mushrooms and 2 medium size carrots cut in half an inch length
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons flour and 1 1/2 table spoons of corn starch
Sprigs of fresh parsley
- season your chicken with appropriate amount of salt and pepper. I like to use bone in and skin on chicken thigh or leg.
- Toss your bacon to caramelize them in a pan with medium heat until they are crisp. Remove the bacon but leave the fat in the pan.
- Fry both sides of the chicken until brown. Remove them from the pan and remove all but only 1 tablespoon of the oil.
- Fry the veggies. Toss in the garlic, shallot and onion for around one minute until brown, and then toss in mushroom and carrots. Season with a pinch of salt so it draws water out of mushroom. Caramelize the veggies until they are brown.
- At this time, we can put in the flour and corn starch. Mix them with the veggies evenly and quickly for about a minute.
- Put in the wine! At this time you should continue mixing well the flour-veggie mixture with the wine, and scrapping off what is sticking to the pan.
- Put in the fresh spices and herbe. We can put in the thyme, bay leaves, and some more pepper in. Also stir in all the bacon.
- Pour in the chicken stock and bring it to a simmer.
- Scoop in 1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste.
- Lay the chicken in the wine sauce and cover the pot with a lid.
- Bring it to a low heat and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes until the chicken is tender and flavorful. Don’t forget to constantly come back to check and see if it’s sticking to the bottom, because we have corn starch in this sauce, and everything gets thicken quickly.
- Put in some freshly chopped parsley.
- Last but not least, season with appropriate amount of salt and taste it!
As you slice through the thicken thigh and soak it in the rich wine sauce and top it with some mushrooms, you reach an instant feeling of accomplishment. The instant you bite it, the flavor from the herb and spices sparkle your taste buds. The chicken is tender and juicy with some greasiness from the skin. The wine sauce doesn’t taste like wine anymore, but it mystically combine everything, from veggies to herb, with the chicken. I like eating it with couscous so that it fills you up and give you the satisfaction when something warm and soft scratches your throat. Hmmmmmm….