Well….yes, there are plenty of other foods that scream France, like Beef Bourguignon, Tartiflette, Confit de Canard, and Cassoulet, but when it comes to everyday fare few match the simplicity, deliciousness and charm of Coq Au Vin.
This version of the dish is my spin on one made at Bistro Zinc in Lenox, MA, and if I do say so myself, it is awesome. Traditionally, Coq Au Vin (chicken cooked in wine) requires marinating the meat overnight in red wine and aromatics, and while it can yield a tasty dish, the method also results in chicken flesh that is stained purple from the wine which I find a bit off-putting…..call me crazy. In replace of the lengthy marinating time, this dish imparts bold flavors by adding a lot of umami goodness in the form of gobs of tomato paste, and caramelized mushrooms. I'm a fan.
Prep time is pretty short and then it's into the oven for an hour and a quarter braise, then a few minutes over a hot flame to reduce the cooking stock to rich perfection. This is a great dish to prepare on a cold Sunday afternoon, and if you're serving a modest crowd you'll have plenty for melt in your mouth leftovers later in the week. This one is much cheaper than a trip to France, and every bit as tasty!
Enjoy – Steve
- 6 chicken legs, cut at the joint to separate thigh and drumstick
- 1 1/2 pounds thick cut bacon, cut into lardons
- 4 carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 celery stalks, diced
- 1 large onion, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 4 cups of dry red wine
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
- 12 sprigs fresh thyme and 6 sprigs fresh rosemary, tied together with kitchen twine
- 1 pound assorted mushrooms, sliced or chopped
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- canola oil
- Heat the oven to 350℉.
- Season chicken all over with some salt and pepper. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, working in batches, brown the chicken on both sides until golden in color (6-7 minutes per side), remove each batch to a plate.
- Add chopped bacon to the pot and cook until just crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a bowl, then pour off all but a couple tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add the minced onion, carrot, celery, and cooked bacon to the pot and cook until the onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the wine, the garlic and the tomato paste and cook for a couple minutes. Add the rest of the wine and cook until it has largely reduced, and the mix in the pot is quite thick.
- Add the chicken stock, the bundles herbs and the chicken to the pot, bring to a boil. Cover and place in the oven until the chicken is very tender, about 1- 1/4 hours.
- While the chicken is cooking, sauté the mushrooms in a little oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until well browned. Remove from the heat and reserve.
- Pull the chicken from the pot and set it over high heat to reduce the cooking stock by about 1/3. Check for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Lower the heat to simmer, remove the herb bundle, then add the mushrooms and the chicken to the pot to warm through and coat with the sauce.
- Serve with boiled baby potatoes tossed with some butter and salt, a rustic loaf with which to soak up all the yummy sauce, and a fresh green salad.