Just because you’re using a classic recipe such as coq au vin doesn’t mean you can’t change it. All good cooks want their rendition to be unique, so alter it until you are finally satisfied you have it exactly the way you want it.
To try to set my coq au vin recipe apart from everyone else’s, I’ve done the following:
* I use fresh pearl onions instead of the frozen variety; however, removing the outer papery layer is a bit tedious.
* I add a dab of demi-glace au poulet to achieve more flavor.
The classic coq au vin recipe uses red wine. I think it gives the meat a funny color, almost a pinkish hue, so instead I use two parts white wine to one part red. The white wine I use is a Chardonnay and for the red I like to use a cab.
Remember, coq au vin is the featured dish at the table, so you won’t want any of your sides upstaging your creation. Buttered peas and a potato gratin work well as simple accompaniments to this dish.
If you really want to put your presentation over the top, serve it in a Staub coq au vin casserole (to purchase click on Staub coq au vin casserole). For an added touch bring this to the table with “La Marseillaise” (the French national anthem) playing in the background. This whole scene should elicit ooohs and aaahs, and it will make you that living legend.
As for the wine, a French Burgundy or a pinot noir is what is usually served. If you are using a white wine in the cooking process instead of a red, then you may want to select a French Chardonnay or one of the American varieties.
Coq au vin can taste even better the second day. With this in mind, make sure to make more than what is needed. The midnight refrigerator raiders and the snack attackers will thank you for your thoughtfulness.
Coq Au Vin (Your Go-to Classic)
2 TbspSoftened butter
2.5 to 3 lb.Chicken pieces (leave skin )
Box (8 oz.)Portabella mushrooms
1 bagPearl onions
4 oz.Bacon (or pork belly) cut into lardons
25 oz. (bottle)Wine (red, white, or combination of the two)
1 TbspPoulet demi-glace
2 cupsChicken stock (1/2 cup and 1 1/2 cup measures)
1/2 TbspTomato paste
6 clovesGarlic pressed
1/4 tspThyme leaves
Salt and pepperTo taste
Fresh parsley flakesGarnish
Enter Target Time _______________
Ahead of time:
Blend the butter and flour together into a smooth paste (beurre meunière).
Wash and dry the chicken. Cut up into pieces but don’t remove bones and skin.
Wash mushrooms. Prepare pearl onions (remove outer layers), and cook mushroom/pearl onion mix:
- In a 12” high-sided skillet heat 1½ Tbsp oil and 1½ Tbsp butter over medium heat.
- Heat pearl onions for 3 minutes until golden brown carefully stirring with spoon (try to keep onions whole).
- Add mushrooms (cut so they are large enough to still be meaty) and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add thyme and cook for 1 minute.
- Add ½ cup chicken stock and cook for 5 minutes, cover and set aside for later.
Time: __________ (90 minutes prior to target time)
In a Dutch oven brown bacon in butter over medium heat. Be sure it is crisp. Remove to side dish. Clean Dutch oven (may have to deglaze with some broth).
Add at least ½ inch vegetable oil to Dutch oven and set burner to med-high heat.
Dredge chicken in flour, and brown the pieces in batches. Remove the pieces and place in a 4 ½-quart casserole. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Clean Dutch oven again (may have to deglaze with some broth). Add some oil and return the bacon and all of the chicken pieces to the Dutch oven. Cover and cook slowly on low heat for 10 minutes turning chicken once.
Uncover and pour on Cognac. Carefully light and burn off.
Pour the wine into the Dutch oven and add 12 oz. of stock. If the chicken is not completely covered, add more wine and stock. Be sure to keep the wine/stock ratio constant at 2:1.
Add a dab of poulet demi-glace and stir in tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Cover and simmer slowly for 25 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces from the Dutch oven and transfer to the 4 ½-quart casserole. Arrange them in center, leaving room for mushrooms and onions along the sides.
Skim off fat from mushroom/onion/liquid mixture in skillet. Add the mixture to Dutch oven, then raise the heat and boil rapidly. Reduce liquid to about 2 ¼ cups. Don’t reduce too much. The consistency should be that of a slightly-liquid gravy.
Taste and season. Remove from heat, and discard the bay leaves.
Place mushrooms and onions around the chicken in the casserole.
Add the beurre meunière to the Dutch oven a little at a time to slightly thicken, and blend with a wire whisk. Simmer stirring for at least 1-2 minutes.
Pour the sauce over the contents in the casserole. Shortly before serving, bring the casserole to a simmer. Cover and let it cook slowly for 4 to 5 minutes until chicken is reheated through.
When the coq au vin is ready, bring the casserole to the table. Uncover with a flourish and serve.
This is a busy recipe. Most of the dish can be prepared and cooked the day before. Go through the first ten steps and then add the chicken, mushrooms, and onions to a plastic container and the liquid part to another. Place both containers in refrigerator. The evening of the event remove the containers about 90 minutes before target time to get to room temperature. About 30 minutes before target time begin at step #11. Place the liquid contents in a Dutch oven and reheat, and then you can do step #12 and continue to the end.