Saturday, May 2, 2009

R2R: Coq Au Vin

I can't say it's a photogenic dish, but it is a tasty dish. 

Temperance from High off the Hog was right when she stated that this dish is "deceptively hard."  I thought I could get away with some of the prep while the chicken was cooking and get everything done.  I did, but it took me the WHOLE time the chicken was cooking. So definitely do your prep in advance.  This especially applies to the pearl onions- peeling them in a bitch, but if you blanch them and the cool them in an ice bath, the skins slide right off.  Slimy, but easy.  The taste of this dish was good- I very much liked the mushrooms cooked in bacon fat :)  I would have liked the sauce to reduce down a bit more, but that's just something on the learning curve for next time!

NOTE: Coq au vin is traditionally made with a coq, or rooster, an older chicken that wouldn't be so delicious roasted.  I would love to make this dish with an actual rooster, but you need to order them ahead in these parts.  I used a free range organic chicken at the suggestion of the poultry man, and it was still very tasty.

Coq au vin
from the Les Halles Cookbook, by Anthony Bourdain, Serves 4

1 bottle/1 liter plus 1 cup/225 ml of red wine
1 onion, cut into a 1-inch/2.5 cm dice
1 carrot, cut into ¼-inch/6-mm slices
1 celery rib, cut into ½ inch/1-cm slices
4 whole cloves
1 tbs/14 g whole black peppercorns
1 bouquet garni
1 whole chicken, about 3.5 lb/1.35 kg, “trimmed” – meaning guts, wing tips and neckbone removed

salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbs/28 ml olive oil
6 tbs/75 g butter, softened
1 tbs/14 g flour
¼ lb/112 g lardons
½ lb/ 225 g small, white button mushrooms, stems removed
12 pearl onions, peeled
pinch of sugar

3 large, deep bowls
plastic wrap
fine strainer
large Dutch oven or heavy –bottomed pot
wooden spoon
small sauté pan
small sauce pan
1 sheet parchment paper
deep serving platter

The day before you even begin to cook, combine the bottle of red wine, the diced onion (that’s the big onion, not the pearl onions), sliced carrots, celery, cloves, peppercorns, and bouquet garni in a large deep bowl. Add the chicken and submerge it in the liquid so that all of it is covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat it dry. Put it aside. Strain the marinade through the fine strainer, reserving the liquids and solids separately. Season the chicken with salt and pepper inside and out. In the large Dutch oven, heat the oil and 2tablesppoons/28 g of the butter until almost smoking, and then sear the chicken, turning it with the tongs to evenly brown it. Once browned, it should be removed from the pot and set it aside again. Add the reserved onions, celery, and carrot to the pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and golden brown. That should take about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix well with the wooden spoon so that the vegetables are coated. Now stir in the reserved strained marinade. Put the chicken back in the pot, along with the bouquet garni. Cook this for about 1 hour and 15 minutes over low heat.

Have a drink. You’re almost there…

While your chicken stews slowly in the pot, cook the bacon lardons in the small sauté pan over medium heat until golden brown. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain it on paper towels, making sure to keep about 1 tablespoon/14 g of fat in the pan. Saute the mushroom tops in the bacon fat until golden brown. Set them aside.

Now, in the small saucepan, combine the pearl onions, the pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons/28 g of butter. Add just enough water to just cover the onions; then cover the pan with the parchment paper trimmed to the same size of the pan. (I suppose you can use foil if you must.) Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the water has evaporated. Keep a close eye on it. Remove the paper cover and continue to cook until the onions are golden brown. Set the onions aside and add the remaining cup/225 ml of red wine along with salt and pepper and reduce over medium-high heat until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

Your work is pretty much done here. One more thing and then it’s wine and kudos…

When the chicken is cooked through – meaning tender, the juice from the thigh running clear when pricked – carefully remove from the liquid, cut into quarters, and arrange on the deep serving platter. Strain the cooking liquid (again) into the reduced red wine. Now just add the bacon, mushrooms, and pearl onions, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons/28 g of butter. Now pour that sauce over the chicken and dazzle your friends with your brilliance. Serve with buttered noodles and a Bourgone Rouge.

1. An old bird is best, hard to find though. Ideally you are looking for a stew chicken or an old rooster, I recommend a Kosher or Halal meat market (remember they have no pork though).
2. Bouquet garni is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string, most recipes include parsley, thyme and bay leaf
3. Lardon may refer to different pork products cut from a pig's belly and used for larding in French cuisine. In this case you are looking for slab or country bacon, cut into small oblongs (lardons) about ¼ by 1 inch. I used salt pork, which did not smell like bacon cooking but tasted pretty good. Either way a good thick bacon with alot of nice fat and not alot of additives is what you are looking for.
4. the wine should be red, other than that pick what suits your pallet and wallet. But here is a helpful guide as well, Wine With...Coq au Vin


Sara said...

Glad you liked this. I liked it, but didn't love it. i think part of the reason was that I was exhausted by the time we were ready to eat this!

JMom said...

I agree, this was not a photogenic dish at all. I had a hard time getting a decent photo in my dark kitchen. Your photo is pretty good, though :)

Madam Chow said...

I'm with you on reducing the sauce more. I did reduce it, and still would have liked a thicker texture. But this dish was a hit! A very purple hit!

Debyi said...

Your dish looks good to me! For the pearl onions, I cut them in half & the skins came off easy. A little cheat, but so much quicker.

Temperance said...

I think your picture turned out pretty good :) I am with you on reducing the sauce more. I am jealous that you actualy found a poultry man, I seriously considered hitting up one of the neighbors farms for a stewing hen or old rooster. Next time I might.

nick said...

"This especially applies to the pearl onions- peeling them in a bitch"

Truer words were never spoken. I hate working with those bitches. Too bad those bitches are so damned tasty!

Hint: if you slice a + into the root end before blanching, they come off even easier.

Good post! :)

Lia "training education" Scott said...

this one needs a lot of preparation to do.. and i cant really see fully the tasty pic of the dish