The Coq Stops Here

February 25, 2012

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Coq au Vin with Egg Noodles and Green Beans

Coq au Vin is something that I like, but I have to be honest, tends to be a dish I only turn to when I have a glut of leftover red wine taking up too much of my precious fridge space.  But, boy – has this changed forever with my latest batch!  I’ve tried a number of recipes over the years, but last night’s recipe – based on a recipe from Bon Appetit from 2002 – was the best of them all.  So good, in fact, my recipe-wandering has stopped…and I predict that my next batch of Coq au Vin will be inspired by a craving rather than leftover wine. *smile*

The sauce has such a rich taste, I always serve it with Plain Buttered Egg Nooodles.  Ok, you can make that Parsley-and-Buttered Egg Noodles, if you like, but really, that’s it.  You want to keep the noodles plain to provide a nice counterpoint to – and to show off the deep, rich flavors, of the Coq au Vin.  Anything more than butter and a rather neutral herb (like parsley) would either compete with or diminish the great flavor you’ve already created with the chicken.  A simple steamed vegetable, such as green beans or broccoli, adds a nice bit of freshness to the plate.

As I say in the recipe notes below, if you can make this a day ahead, do!  Even a few days ahead is just fine.  The flavors just get better and better….and if you’re serving this to guests, it’s wonderful to have such an amazing and delicious main dish, with all the mess and clean up done beforehand.  Simply put the pot back on to heat slowly -either on the stovetop or in the oven – and have plenty of time to get ready for your company to arrive.

Coq au Vin      

makes 6 servings

4 cups Red Wine – Burgundy or Pinot Noir – or whatever you have leftover
1 large onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 large carrot, peeled, sliced
2 large garlic clove, peeled, flattened
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 Chicken Thighs (or whatever combo of on-the-bone chicken pieces you prefer)

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 ounces thick-cut bacon slices, cut crosswise into strips
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 small onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 large fresh thyme sprigs
4 large fresh parsley sprigs
2 small bay leaves
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 pounds button mushrooms
12 oz frozen pearl onions

First:  Marinate the Chicken

Combine wine, onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and peppercorns in large pot. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes. Cool completely; mix in oil.

Remove skin and excess fat from the thighs.  Place chicken pieces in large ziplock bag, pour the wine mixture over the chicken, seal the bag and massage to make sure all the chicken gets coated.  Nestle the bag in a bowl in case of leaks and refrigerate at least 1 day and up to 2 days.  Be sure to turn the bag from time to time to keep the marinate moving all through the chicken.

Next:  Cook the Chicken

Transfer chicken pieces from marinade to paper towels to drain; pat dry, reserving marinade.

Strain marinade; reserve vegetables and liquid separately.

Spritz a large, heavy pot with cooking spray, add bacon and sauté until crisp and brown. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined dish, reserve.

Season thighs with garlic salt and pepper and add to drippings in pot. (I start with the ‘back side’ of the thighs first – they are the fattier side, and the rendered fat will help to brown the front ‘flap’ side.)  Sauté until brown, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to large bowl.

Add vegetables reserved from marinade to pot. Sauté until brown, about 10 minutes. Mix in flour; stir 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in reserved marinade liquid. Bring to boil, whisking frequently. Cook until sauce thickens, whisking occasionally, about 2 minutes.

Mix in chopped onions, garlic, herb sprigs, and bay leaves, then broth. Return chicken to pot in a single layer. Bring to simmer; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover pot and simmer chicken 30 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken over. Cover and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms; sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer
mushrooms to plate.

When the 15 minutes are up, transfer chicken to plate. Strain sauce from pot into reserved skillet, pressing on solids in strainer to extract all sauce; discard solids. Bring sauce to simmer, scraping up browned bits. Return sauce to pot.

Add onions to pot and bring to simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook until onions are almost tender, about 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and bacon. Simmer uncovered until onions are very tender and sauce is slightly reduced, about 12 minutes. Tilt pot and spoon off excess fat from top of sauce. Season sauce with garlic salt and pepper.

Return chicken to sauce.** Rewarm over low heat. Arrange chicken on large rimmed platter. Spoon sauce and vegetables over.

**If you can – let it rest in the fridge overnight.  Not only will the flavors develop even further….you will also be able to skim off the congealed fat before reheating…making this delicious dish even healthier.

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Filed Under: Do-Ahead, Mains, Recipe, Savory, What's For Dinner

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