Living Well 60+ January-February 2014 - Page 10

10 JAN/FEB 2014 Coq Au Vin • • • • • • • • • k Fran rt Kou fdood u the de Coq au Vin Makes an Elegant, Hearty Winter Dish Break some conventional culinary rules with this French classic Cooks who are looking for an elegant yet earthy and hearty dish for winter cooking need look no further than the classic French The variations are understandable, since the French housewives who first made it were apt to use the ingredients they had on hand. Any salt pork today? If not, substitute bacon. If there are three or four carrots to be had, so much the better. If not, skip them. Coq au vin literally means “chicken with wine.” It is a close cousin to that other French bistro dish, boeuf bourguignon, or “beef in burgundy.” Coq au vin breaks some conventional culinary rules by marrying chicken with a robust red wine. The important thing to keep in mind is to use fresh ingredients. Equally important is the slow cooking that allows the flavors of this wonderful dish to marry. (Some people make coq au vin, refrigerate it and heat and serve it the next day in order to give this marrying of flavors a better chance to take place). provincial dish, coq au vin. Indeed, coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon are so close that in concocting my personal coq au vin recipe over the years, I find it’s virtually the same as my beef dish, with the obvious substitution of chicken for the beef. You’re certain to find many variations of coq au vin. Many will not include carrots. In some there will be a dash or two of cognac; others will add celery; and the spices will vary widely. Most coq au vin recipes have onions, garlic, mushrooms, bacon, a number of spices and, of course, chicken and wine. There’s even a variation called coq au vin blanc, in which a white wine is used. When making coq au vin, make sure you use a drinkable full-bodied red wine, such as burgundy, and plan to drink the same vintage with your meal. A good rule is never to cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink – and never use those salt-enhanced “cooking wines” that are sold in grocery stores. Serve your coq au vin with rice or noodles and accompany it with a good, crusty bread. A simple salad completes a full meal. In addition to being an elegant dinner, a good coq au vin warms body and spirit on a cold, frosty night. • • • • • • 3 lbs. chicken pieces Salt and pepper Flour 1/4 cup butter or margarine 1/4 cup olive oil 8 slices of bacon, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 large onions, chopped 3-4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 2 cups burgundy wine 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced 1/2 bag frozen pearl onions 2 bay leaves 1/2 tsp. each thyme, rosemary, marjoram Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Salt and pepper the chicken, coat with flour and sauté the pieces until golden, then place in an oven-proof casserole. Pour off the liquid from the skillet and sauté the bacon until the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon and set aside. Pour off all but about a tablespoon of the fat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, and parsley and sauté until the onion starts to turn golden. Arrange the contents of the pan over the chicken. Add the herbs and spices and pour the wine over all. Cover the casserole and bake in a 325-degree oven for one hour. While the chicken is cooking, sauté the pearl onions and mushrooms in a little butter until the onions begin to turn golden. Drain and add to the casserole. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Skim any fat off the top of the dish before serving. A good coq au vin warms body and spirit on a cold, frosty night.