Coq au Vin
Many steps produce golden-brown chicken pieces steeped in a flavorful marinade and cooked with veal stock, accompanied by deeply browned onions and mushrooms, tiny potatoes, and diced vegetables. Preparing the various pieces of the dish separately preserves their individual flavors and textures.
- Onion - 1, peeled and quartered
- Carrot - 1, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- Celery Rib - 1, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Garlic Cloves - 5, peeled and crushed
- Red Wine - one, 24-ounce bottle, preferably Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux
- Bouquet garni - 1 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme, and 1 sprig fresh parsley, wrapped in cheesecloth
- Bacon - 4 strips, blanched
- Olive Oil - 1/4 cup
- Cognac - 1/2 cup
- Veal Stock - 2 cups
- Mushrooms and Onions
- Pearl Onions - 1/2 pound, small, peeled
- Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
- Pinch of sugar
- Fresh mushrooms
- Salt and freshly ground pepper - 1/2 pound, trimmed and quartered
- Vegetable Accompaniments
- Boiling Potatoes - 6, peeled, washed, and cut into olive shapes
- Clarified Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Garlic - 2 tablespoons, peeled, minced
- Leek - 1, tender part cleaned, washed, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- White Onion - 1 cup, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Carrot - 3/4 cup, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Celery Stalks - 1/2 cup, tender, trimmed, washed, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- Veal Stock - 1 cup
- Bay Leaf - 1
- Fresh Thyme - 4, small sprigs
To marinate the chicken: Thoroughly wash and dry the chicken. Remove the chicken legs and thighs, and separate the thighs from the legs at the ball joint. Cut off the wings. Remove the breast in one piece, leaving the bone intact. Cut the breast into 4 pieces.
In a deep, non-aluminum dish, combine the chicken, onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Pour the wine over the chicken and vegetables and add the bouquet garni. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Strain the marinade, reserving both the vegetables and the liquid un the refrigerator.
To prepare the mushrooms and onions: In a medium saute pan or skillet, place the pearl onions and add enough water to just cover them. Put over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter, the sugar, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and boil until all the water has evaporated, shaking the pan often to ensure even cooking. Reduce the heat to medium low and caramelize the onions in the dry pan. Shake and stir them until they become golden brown. Remove to a mixing bowl.
In a separate large saute pan, melt the remaining butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and saute about 3 minutes until well browned. Combine the mushrooms with the onions and set aside until needed.
To cook the chicken: Preheat the oven to 300 F. In a heavy-bottomed 12-inch frying pan or 2-inch-deep casserole, cook the bacon over medium-high heat about 2 minutes, until browned and crisp. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to paper towels and set aside. Pour off all but 2 to 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and heat until nearly smoking. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and return to the pan. Cook the chicken over medium-high heat about 3 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove the chicken to a side dish and set aside.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the chicken cooking pan. Add the vegetables from the marinade, reduce the heat to medium, and cook about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the Cognac and flame. Pour in the reserved liquid from the marinade, increase the heat to high, and boil until reduced by half.
Return the chicken and bacon to the vegetables and reduced liquid. Add the veal stock and bring to a simmer. Cover and place in the preheated oven. After about 20 minutes, check the white meat for doneness; if done, remove from the casserole while the dark meat finishes cooking, another 10 to 15 minutes. Five minutes before the cooking time is up, add the mushrooms and onions to the casserole. Remove the casserole from the oven, remove the chicken, and set aside. Remove the mushrooms and onions from the casserole and set aside in a separate dish. Strain and degrease the sauce, discarding the chopped onion, carrot, and celery. Pour the strained sauce into a medium saucepan and set aside until service.
To make the vegetable accompaniments: Fill a large saucepan one-third full with salted water and bring to a simmer. Line a steamer with a double thickness of cheesecloth, place the potatoes in the cheesecloth, and fold the cheesecloth over the potatoes. Set the steamer over the water, making sure that the water level is just below the steamer and not touching the potatoes. Cover and let the potatoes cook about 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender.
In a large non-stick saute pan, melt the clarified butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, diced leek, onion, carrots, celery, and bay leaf, and cook slowly about 5 minutes, or until tender. Gradually ladle in the veal stock, about 1/3 cup at a time. Increase the heat to medium-high and allow the stock to reduce by half after each addition. Continue cooking until all the veal stock is used. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
To serve: Portion the chicken pieces among the 4 warmed serving plates. Return the strained sauce to a medium heat, add the diced vegetables, and rewarm. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the diced vegetables around the chicken. Add the mushroom-onion mixture and potatoes to the sauce and rewarm slightly. Strew the mushrooms, onions, and potatoes over the chicken with some extra sauce. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.
Note: In order to remove the smoky flavor, the bacon is blanched before browning. To do this, drop the bacon into a small saucepan of cold water to cover by 2 to 3 inches. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the saucepan and drain. Rinse under cold water and blot on paper towels until dry before proceeding with the recipe.