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I am so happy with how this meal turned out! Coq au Vin is one of my favourite classic French meals, it’s so satisfying to cook, the sauce is jammy, the chicken is tender and when you’ve been recently been converted to champignons like I have, this is a perfect opportunity to just go cray and get some fancy ones.

I have only made this one other time, and that was with my mum during the summer after my first year at uni and it’s this pretty much this same method which I’ve used here. It tasted pretty good when I first cooked it, I just didn’t let the chicken brown enough so it didn’t look right and I was very disappointed. So after promising myself not to let myself down again, off I went to make ‘take two’, (although without the recipe book it was memory and tips learned from making other casseroles which gave me the result I’ve given you here). 

A meal like this deserves an occasion to accompany it, and for me that was starting my first full-time job here in Paris. It all felt like I had properly arrived and settled in this city despite having already lived here for 2 months, and what other dish is there to cook to celebrate living in France, than a meal which is an integral part of its culinary culture?

(Serves 4) Ingredients:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
10 shallots, diced
4 chicken drumsticks, skin removed
4 chicken thighs, skin removed
3 garlic cloves
4 rashers (although in France they’re circular, don’t ask me why) of smoked back-bacon cut into small strips and the fat trimmed off
450ml red wine, and as pretentious as this sounds, after doing some research I went with a Bordeaux (you can get a half-decent one for about 4 euros), although a Merlot is also fine, darling.
1 1/2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar
150ml home-made chicken stock
2 thyme sprigs, 2 rosemary sprigs tied together
2 bay leaves
3 cloves (not too many so as not to be overpowering)
200g cremini or chestnut mushrooms with a mixture of quartered and halved sliced

Method:

Get a bloody big saucepan.
Heat 1 tbsp oil and add the bacon and stir until crisp, then remove from the pan onto kitchen roll before adding the shallots and 1 clove of garlic, stirring for 5 minutes, then take them out and put them with the bacon.
After patting the chicken (it will help it brown!), add 1 tbsp oil and turn them until they are brown on both sides, this does not mean they have to be cooked all the way though. Take them out to then set aside so you can make the sauce.
Add the other two garlic two garlic cloves to the pan and after they’ve started to brown, pour in the red wine vinegar until the majority of it has evaporated.
Bring back the chicken, bacon and shallots, give all a stir before turning down the heat, then add the wine, stock herbs and seasoning, let it simmer for about 40-45 minutes until the sauce is jammyand you’re getting impatient.
At around about the 35 minute-mark, heat 1tbsp oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms, season them well, don’t crowd them so to let them properly brown. Then keep them warm before ready to serve.
I served this with some lightly-nutmeg-y steamed green beans.

I hope this dish served you well! Do you have any recipes which you save for a special occasion?

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