Monday, January 7, 2008

Recipe of the Week

This is a feature of my blog that I am so excited to share. I love coming up with recipes and playing with ones that already exist and can’t wait to share them. Be warned, however, as my recipes are often more methods that alchemy and I don’t always know exactly how much of whatever I have put into anything in particular. But if you email me, I am more than willing to help with the details.

This past weekend was very wet and windy. It left me homebound and cozy for much longer than I am used to so…I put the time to good use testing a recipe I had always wanted to try out but had always intimidated me: Coq au Vin. Off I went to BevMo for some wine and onto the phone I got to invite one of my closest friends (literally and figuratively—she lives walking distance from my house). I decided on an inexpensive syrah for the chicken and a more moderately priced ($10 is moderately priced to me) wine to have with dinner, a 2006 Malbec Pascual Toso from Argentina. Malbecs, for some reason, have always fascinated me, and they are really tasty!

The Coq Au Vin recipe I decided to try came from one of my first cookbooks that I used quite often when I got really interested in French cooking (while I was going to UCSB and serving at a French restaurant—my roommate was also a sous chef there so I learned a lot) and is called Le Cordon Bleu Quick Classics, Sophisticated food in no time at all. It is by Jeni Wright & Le Cordon Bleu Chefs. I used it for the method. I used skinless, boneless chicken breast and thighs, to make it lighter. And, since I didn’t have a bouquet garni, I made my own which consisted of a bay leaf plucked from my mantle (I used bay to decorate this year instead of pine boughs) and some thyme from my backyard garden.

Coq Au Vin

I small onion, carrot, and celery stick diced. This is a classic mirepoix.
20-ish button mushrooms
30-ish pickling onions (used frozen and just threw them in)
4 ounces of bacon
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into smaller, same-sized pieces. I cut the tenderloin off, cut the breast in two across, and cut the thicker end in two through its middle so its thin like the rest.
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups of red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
sprigs of thyme
1Tbs butter.

You fry up the bacon first, then remove it from the pan. If you need to add a little more oil to the pan, do so and add lightly seasoned chicken browning on both sides in batches. Remove and let sit with bacon. Add all vegetables to the same pan. The juices they release are going to deglaze the pan. Let them wilt a little and stir until all the browned bits are now incorporated in to the vegetables.

Now you add 2 cups of red wine to the vegetables and let it simmer until it reduces by half. Once reduced in half, you then add 2 cups of chicken stock, whole bay leaf and sprigs of thyme (don’t worry about removing herb from stem as you will just remove it at the end).

Add chicken and bacon back into the pan, bring to a strong simmer, cover and cook for about half an hour. Once half hour is over, chicken should be tender and liquid should be reduced to a sauce. If it hasn’t, just cook a little longer (remove chicken first). Remove herbs and, as a last touch, add about a tablespoon of butter to give it a silkier look and more rounded taste.

I served this with roasted red potatoes in olive oil and rosemary and a green salad with green onions, avocado and light vinaigrette dressing. Add a little Malbec and some candles and you have a very cozy evening!


Professor J said...

Hi. Mary Alice sent me. Welcome to the neighborhood; I look forward to reading more.

Marie said...

I have to admit, I can't say "coq au vin" out loud without giggling.

Jolyn said...

Came to you through "Frontlines" where I have enjoyed getting to know your sister ... your (rather large) family is fascinating and so full of the important and interesting things in life -- looking forward to reading more!

Claire B. said...

Went to a French dinner the other night and the main course was chicken with cognac cream mushroom sauce (get OUT!! it should be illegal). We're vegetarians so we had a chicken substitute which was really good, but the wine tasting is what I really enjoyed: an Oregon Pinot Noir (which didn't fight the cognac)followed by a Spanish Grenache and then a big Syrah.

Jo said...


Thanks for the welcome! I am excited to start blogging and getting to know the neighborhood!

Jo said...

HUGE family and thanks for the using the euphimism "fascinating" instead of "crazed" or "ludacris"! We are definitly NOT boring, that's for sure!

Jo said...

Claire B:
There is nothing like a good Oregon pinot noir. That's one thing I really miss about my former wine job--all the wine tasting. We even got to go to some Sherry tastings! Cognac cream sauce does sound divine, illegal, and sexy!

Jo said...

I know, but isn't it fun to say?

Beck said...

That sounds delicious! I love bloggers who post good recipes....
here from Mary Alice!

Slave to the Man said...

I can attest that this is a fabulous recipe as I was fortunate enough to have her cook it for me! Yum!!!