This blog is a day late – once again I was sick with a head cold. This weather is not treating me well. Spring apparently has sprung in FEBRUARY. I’m happy for the opened windows and the nice sun-filled walks but I am not adapting well to the ups and downs of the temperature and I will be forever mad I never got a snow day. Not to mention it makes making this warm savory saucy braised chicken dish a little out of place because the weather is screaming outside patio restaurant dinners.
Nevertheless, I persisted (I tried to keep politics out of it, but in today’s world everything has become a catchy catch phrase…) I made COQ AU VIN and I invited two of my favs over for a long-overdue dinner.
I’ll first admit that I cheated on this dinner. I bought already cut chicken rather than buying a whole chicken and breaking it down culinary school style. I did this because of time and cost. I bought thighs, drum sticks and two ginormous breasts.
AU VIN translates to with wine! My husband and I were at the store together searching for red wine. The rule of thumb is, cook with what you want to drink – so don’t cheap out. So we browsed the French wine section as a nod to this French dish but I was not going to pay $30 for a bottle of wine to cook with, especially if I wasn’t going to get to drink a glass or two (#pregnancylife). So regardless of the rule of thumb, I’m not crazy. Brad found a great wine from California, and we have been to the winery so I knew it would be good. Long story short – after all of that careful thought, Brad dropped the bottle of wine as we were walking from the car to the house…oops. So dinner was prepared with a bottle of red wine from Walgreens.
After I marinated the chicken in red wine, orange and some spices I dredged them in flour and then browned the chicken. I didn’t get it has brown as I had hoped for – probably a result of my pan not being as hot as it should have been. But nevertheless, I persisted (ha! I couldn’t help myself).
Then I added in the rest of the ingredients, including the marinade I used before – this will later turn into a sauce. I covered the pan and popped it in the oven so that it can braise.
Braising: when you cook large pieces of meat on low heat for a slow period of time
Stewing: when you cook bite-size pieces of meat on low heat for a slow period of time
I know it’s very technical.
Then I proceeded to prepare the
3 2 ingredients that make this dish COQ AU VIN proper. According to culinary school there are 3 ingredients that are mandatory for the dish to be COQ AU VIN (and they are also required for other popular French cuisine, I’ll make some of those dishes later).
1. LARDONS – simply put thick strips of bacon
2. Quartered Mushrooms – that’s right quartered, not sliced, not diced
3. Pearl Onions – these were missing from my meal because the grocery store was out of them and after searching 3 stores I gave up.
So as the chicken was in the oven braising, my sou-chef husband cut the bacon and put it on a baking sheet and in the oven. I cleaned and quartered the mushrooms and then sautéed them in a pan.
After the chicken was fully cooked, I removed the pan from the oven and placed the chicken aside. I strained the sauce into a clean pan and continued to reduce it so that it would become a thick sauce.
I served it with a side a homemade – culinary school recipe rice, and broccoli.
Up next – the first weekend in March is LE BOEUF A LA BOURGUIGNONNE (basically the same dish but with beef) – I’ll be sure to locate pearl onion between now and then. I am looking forward to this because I didn’t eat the chicken of the COQ AU VIN because chicken has become a food aversion of mine because pregnancy. I did enjoy the rice, sauce and broccoli!