|Ingredients for Coq Au Vin|
|Chicken with bacon|
|Sauteed mushrooms and pearl onions|
|Flambeeing the chicken|
|Simmering the chicken in wine|
|Combining butter and flour|
|Coq Au Vin|
Coq Au Vin
4 oz bacon
6 tablespoons butter, divided
2 ½ - 3 lbs frying chicken, cut into 8 pieces
¼ cup cognac
3 cups full bodied red wine
1-2 cups brown chicken stock, or canned beef bouillon
½ tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
¼ teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
12-24 pearl onions, peeled
½ lb mushrooms
3 tablespoons flour
Salt and pepper
Combine 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet. Place over high heat. When the butter foam starts to subside, add the mushrooms. Shake the pan for about 4 minutes. Remove mushrooms from the pan when they have browned lightly.
Combine 1 ½ tablespoons butter and 1 ½ tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the mixture starts to bubble, add onions to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, gently rolling the onions so they will brown evenly.
This recipe is adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck, Knopf 1976.
I made this dish because it is one of the most popular French dishes. I’ve made other French dishes so this was sort of a rite of passage for me. I felt that I couldn’t say I’ve cooked French food without having cooked Coq Au Vin!
I was excited to make this dish as I imagined how the chicken would taste after having been simmered in stock, cognac and wine. Yes, there’s that cognac waiting to be lit again! You’ll notice that the recipe calls for a whole frying chicken but my pictures show several chicken breasts. Like most recipes, it’s just a matter of preference: my family likes white meat, although I like dark. You’ll also notice that my bacon/lardons look quite lean. It’s because this is my homemade bacon which I cut on the thick side. I’ll teach you how to make bacon in a future post.
I learned something new with this recipe which is how to make beurre manié. This is what transforms the simmering stock and wine into a velvety sauce. It is similar to a roux in that they both contain wheat flour and fat, and are used as thickeners. However, a roux is made at the very start of a dish and oil or lard may be used for the fat, while a beurre manié is made with butter and is incorporated into the dish while it is cooking.
As I was making this dish I imagined Julia Child and her cohorts cooking at L’Ecole Des Trois Gourmandes. It must have been exhilarating to talk about, develop and test all sorts of classic French dishes. It must have also been neat to learn different cooking techniques from them. I was feeling a bit like a gourmande as I cooked the different parts of the dish and then set them aside, and then cook something else and set them aside, and so on. In the end when everything came together it was sublime!
For anyone who wants to learn how to cook French food, I highly recommend getting the book this recipe was based on. It’s not merely a collection of recipes but a cooking school in print. Sure there are cooking videos, but reading a recipe step-by-step recipe ensures you won’t miss anything there is to learn.
Merci Julia, Louisette et Simone!