Coq au Vin | JC 100 – Week 3

It is now week 3 of the 100 year celebration of Julia Child and they’ve hit us with a doozy! Well not really, but this one did certainly take more time than the Omelette Roulee of week 1 which was in and out of my HOT pan in a minute and a half! (That’s my kind of recipe). This week I was faced with Coq au Vin, which is essentially “Chicken in Wine”. I knew this would be more challenging for me, not because it was difficult to prepare, but because I don’t like following recipes, but I stuck it through and it was a success!


Here is the recipe from Julia Child, typed out by Laura from The Uneducated Palate, with some slight modifications by moi!

Coq au Vin

Excerpted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child. Copyright © 1989 by Julia Child. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) lardons – 1 by 1/4 inch strips of blanched slab bacon or salt pork (see Special Notes)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds frying chicken parts
  • 1/3 cup good brandy, optional
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs olive oil or good cooking oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 or 2 large cloves of garlic, puree
  • 1 imported bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp or so thyme
  • 1 large ripe red unpeeled tomato, chopped, or 1/3 cup canned Italian plum tomatoes
  • 3 cups young red wine (Zinfandel, Macon, or Chianti type)
  • 1 or more cups chicken stock
  • Beurre manie for the sauce (1 1/2 Tbs each flour and softened butter blended to a paste)
  • Fresh parsley springs, or chopped parsley
  • 12 to 16 small brown-braised white onions
  • 3 cups fresh mushrooms, trimmed, quartered and sautéed
Instructions
  1. For Chicken: Before browning the chicken, sauté the blanched bacon or salt pork and remove to a side dish, leaving the fat in the pan.
  2. Dry the chicken parts thoroughly then brown the chicken in the pork fat, adding a little olive oil, if needed.
  3. Flame the chicken with the brandy, if you wish. It does gives its own special flavour, besides being fun to do.
  4. For brown-braised onions and mushrooms: In the same pan, sauté the peeled onions in the remaining fat on moderate heat until fairly tender, add the mushrooms, raise heat, cooking until mushrooms begin to tenderize; add butter or olive oil if necessary.
  5. In the same pan, add the chicken, garlic, bay, thyme and tomato. Pour in the wine and enough stock barely to cover the ingredients. Bring to the simmer; cover, and simmer slowly for 20 minutes or until the chicken is tender when pressed.
  6. Remove the chicken to a side dish, and spoon surface fat off the cooking juices. Pour the juices into a saucepan and taste very carefully for strength and seasoning. Boil down rapidly if it needs strength, adding more of the seasonings if you think them necessary.
  7. Off heat, whisk the beurre manie to make a lightly thickened sauce. Bring briefly to the simmer. The sauce should be just thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
  8. Wash out the casserole; return the chicken to it. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, simmering a few minutes, basting, to rewarm the chicken and to blend flavours.
Special Notes

To blanch bacon or salt pork:
When you use bacon or salt pork in cooking, you want to remove its salt as well as its smoky flavour, which would permeate the rest of the food. To do so, you blanch it, meaning you drop it into a saucepan of cold water to cover it by 2 to 3 inches, bring it to the boil, and simmer 5 to 8 minutes; then drain, refresh in cold water, and pat dry in paper towels.

You can also view the original recipe here

After taking the chicken out of the wine and stock, I ended up having to reduce it quite a bit to get the desired consistency. So if you find the sauce is a little runny after taking the chicken out, just add the beurre manie and continue reducing and tasting until you get the desired flavour and consistency.

Along with this recipe, I decided mashed potatoes would be a good fit, so I boiled potatoes until they were soft enough to easily slide a knife in and out of them. Mashed them, added half-and-half cream and butter until the potatoes reached a desired consistency, then salt and pepper to taste along with some chives. The mashed potatoes were definitely a good fit for this dish, as they absorbed some of the flavours and tasted great alongside the chicken.

While this dish does take some prep work, it isn’t too difficult to make, and can make a pretty eye catching supper depending on how you plate it (I thought the coloring of chicken from the wine was great!). If I make this again, I will be more mindful of my wine, as the one I used was quite acidic and added a little too much tartness for my liking. I might also try removing one cup of wine and adding more chicken stock, but that’s for another time! I would love to hear your thoughts on this recipe and any other classics from Julia Child! Looking forward to what week 4 has to offer!

Enjoy,

Bob

 

 

 

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