Yesterday, I made six different things in the kitchen. Yes, six! Ice cream, a lunch recipe, two batches of cookies, hummus and my dinner. And what I realized is that I really needed to catch up on my blogging if I was going to get around to sharing all of them, since four of them were new recipes! So today, I present you with a super-fancy sounding dish that you’ve definitely heard of: Coq Au Vin. It’s a French chicken dish and I feel it’s appropriate to be blogging about it, since I’m about to begin taking French language classes again next week, for the duration of the summer term. I love French culture, food and language, so I am looking forward to taking the language to work towards achieving my lifelong dream of being able to speak French to some degree of fluency. I primarily am pushing myself through the intensive summer classes because it’s our slow season at work and because there won’t be many other chances in my future to take classes at no cost, so I’m trying to put my credit hours towards good use. Will and I hope to travel internationally quite a bit in our future, so I want to proficient enough in French to feel comfortable interacting overseas. Even though English is common, I’d prefer to know French as well, to open up more opportunities in future travel. Thus, the push this summer to pick it back up and learn even more!
In regards to this recipe, I think it’s important to note that this is not something I made on my own, but I did definitely assist Will in making it, before he left! The most fun part of the whole thing that made us feel more “advanced” in the kitchen was the fact you get to set the cognac on fire (aka flambe-ing the chicken). Kind of scary, but also really cool. If you’re patient and feeling up for a challenge, than this is the recipe for you! We weren’t entirely sure how Coq Au Vin was supposed to taste, but we thought this turned out pretty well. See the notes for more and enjoy!
Cooking Notes: We really didn’t change anything with this recipe because we searched and searched until we found a Coq Au Vin recipe we thought would be easy enough to try. We realized by night two that we probably didn’t need to serve it with the sauce it was cooked in, but other than adjusting that, I recall pretty much following this one exactly (note the difference in pictures from night one to night two). We did only end up using thighs and legs for the chicken, just to specify there. Also, we did not cook egg noodles and we wish we had – it would’ve helped with the soupiness of the dish. Plus egg noodles are just tasty!
Coq Au Vin (adapted from Buzzfeed; serves 4-6)
1/2 cup cubed thick-cut bacon
Chicken thighs and legs, 4-6 pieces
1/2 lb. frozen pearl onions
4-6 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely sliced
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1/2 bottle-ish of dry red wine
2 cups beef stock
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp flour
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, stripped from stems
Splash of cognac
S&P, to taste
Egg noodles, to serve
Prep all of your ingredients – chop the carrots, slice the mushrooms, strip the thyme and mince the garlic. In a Dutch oven, cook the cubed bacon over medium-high heat until it turns brown and begins to get crispy. Remove with tongs and place on a paper towel, keeping the fat in the Dutch oven. Generously sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken pieces, then brown them in batches, over medium-high heat in the bacon fat, adding olive oil if the pan looks dry. Flip the pieces as need ensuring all sides turn golden brown. Don’t crowd the pan and don’t move the chicken around too much!
Once all the chicken is browned, put it back in the pot if you’ve been working in batches. Pour in three or more shots of cognac, letting it bubble for 30 seconds. Spark a lighter or match just above the chicken and flambe it! The flame can last upwards of a minute, so don’t panic yet. If it doesn’t calm down, place the lid over the oven to help it die out.
After the flame dies down, toss the carrot and frozen pearl onions in with the chicken and simmer for about 5-10 minutes or until they’re slightly brown. If it gets smoky at any point, turn the heat down to medium. Sprinkle flour over the chicken pieces, then turn them over (with tongs) so the floured surface sits in the juice. Break up any flour lumps with your spatula, then simmer for 5 more minutes. Add the wine and beef stock, watching how much you pour – only so much the the chicken is just barely covered, keeping stock and wine proportional to each other. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, tomato paste and browned bacon. Stir to incorporate, then cover and simmer on low heat for 20-30 minutes. During the last 5 minutes, toss in the mushrooms and stir them in. If you want yours to be a thicker stew, add a little more flour (mix with water/stock first); if you want it thinner, add more wine or stock. Serve over egg noodles with French bread and wine and enjoy!
Recipe: Buzzfeed: Coq Au Vin