Sunday Dinner

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Coq au Vin

Sunday Dinner Post Take II...  For those of you who receive e-mail subscriptions or if you just randomly clicked on my site this morning, you'll know what that means.  I inadvertently hit the publish button yesterday when I was typing up the post. So please disregard that recipe, since it had yet to be edited.

Funny-- looking back on Sunday dinners past.  We had Coq au Vin more than once on the same weekend.  It must be programmed in my head to serve it at this time of year.  There are several steps to this recipe, but hey it's Sunday (not a busy weeknight) and it's worth it.  Chicken braised in an enriched red wine sauce enhanced with the flavors of bacon and pearl onions gets my cooking motivation in gear.  Potatoes are all you really need, but I like the addition of turnips and carrots for a heartier meal.  And the sauce, oh the sauce... any leftovers are wonderful on a piece of toast with a simple salad for light and easy weeknight meal.

Printable Recipe

Coq au Vin
serves 4-6

For the Chicken
6 slices (about 5-ounces) bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 each-- chicken breast halves (cut in half crosswise), drumsticks, and thighs
2 Tablespoons neutral oil, such as Canola or Safflower
1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
3 cups dry red wine
1 to 2 cups chicken stock
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf

For the Vegetables
3 Tablespoons neutral oil, such as Canola or Safflower
1 pound fresh white button mushrooms, cleaned and halved or quartered if large
10 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed and drained
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
4 medium turnips, peeled and quartered
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For the Chicken
In a large dutch oven over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp, about 4-5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.  Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the pan.  In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.   Lightly dredge the chicken pieces in the flour.  In the same dutch oven, add the oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Brown the chicken in batches, about 5-7 minutes per batch.  Pour off the drippings from the pan. Return all of the chicken to the pot.  Add the Cognac, ignite with a match, and let the flames die.  Add the wine, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf.  Add enough stock to cover the chicken.  Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer slowly for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear.  Remove the chicken to a large dish and keep covered; reserve the wine mixture in the pot until ready to serve.

For the Vegetables
Meanwhile, in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil.  Add the mushrooms and sauté until softened, 3-5 minutes.  Raise the heat to high, add the onions, and stir until glazed 2-3 minutes longer.  Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.  Add the carrots and turnips and sauté until beginning to brown, about 3-5 minutes.  Add the stock, season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer just until fork tender, about 15 minutes longer.  Uncover and boil down the liquid until it forms a glaze.  

Return the reserved wine mixture to the heat and bring to a simmer, skimming off any fat.  Then raise the heat to high and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to 2 1/4 cups.  Taste for seasoning; discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf.  In a small bowl, blend the butter and flour together into a smooth paste. Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whisk, stirring until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon lightly.

Return the chicken to the wine sauce, place the mushrooms and onions around the chicken, add the reserved bacon, and baste with the sauce.  Arrange the carrots and turnips around the chicken, sprinkle with parsley and serve with the extra sauce on the side.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma: Snow Country Cooking, and Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child


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