Chicken in Red Wine Sauce

DSC_7581 (1600x1060)Also know as Coq Au Vin, this is a classic dish that Julia Child taught me to make, though I rarely look at her recipes any more.  They tend to be too fussy with multiple steps and otherwise involved directions so I tend to wing it while looking at a similar recipe.

I looked for frozen pearl onions at the store yesterday while we were putting in provisions for the coming brutal cold weather the mavens are predicting for us.  I’ve found them there before but had to use the kind you have to peel.  Drop them into boiling water for two minutes and then you can peel them pretty easily when they’ve cooled.  Cut one end off and these will pop right out when you pinch them.

I also looked for the small button mushrooms that look so cute but had to make do with larger ones that I sliced and sauteed in butter and olive oil.  The mushrooms and the onions both are cooked separately from the chicken and added to the dish when plating for the table.

The recipe I linked to above calls for cognac, I used Marsala wine instead, and used a slurry of cornstarch instead of the butter/flour mixture to thicken the pan liquids.  I’ve made this many times using slightly different variations of ingredients and methods and it always ends in a delicious meal – one of our all time favorites.

Coq Au Vin

It’s been a long time since I’ve prepared this classic chicken stew.  I’ve taken some liberties with the recipe made famous by Julia Child.

Fry some bacon until crisp and set aside on a paper towel.  Dredge some chicken parts in seasoned flour and brown them well in the bacon fat.  Bone in thighs are perfect for this but you can use whatever.  Set the browned chicken pieces aside on a plate.  Drain most of the fat and pour in a cup of red wine to deglaze.  Add back the bacon and the browned chicken.  Stir in a cup and a half to two cups of beef or chicken broth – I use beef most often but chicken broth will work fine.  Add some carrot pieces and a coarsely diced onion.  Pearl onions work great for this but aren’t absolutely required.  Add canned mushrooms if you have them, fresh mushrooms are great but they need to be cooked down earlier if fresh – between the bacon and the chicken browning.

After the broth and veggies are added bring it all to a simmer and then reduce heat to low and cover.  It should take about 45 more minutes to cook through, turn the chicken over halfway and give it a stir.

I like to serve this with a wild rice mix.  Noodles or potatoes will work as well.