I want to share with you the last Valentines Day meal I prepared in my restaurant. A very special meal and oh so delectable. Coq Au Vin is a French peasant dish consisting of chicken in red wine. I adapted this recipe given to me by my treasured Sister-in-Law, who is a superb cook. This dish is fabulous without the chocolate, and hardly a peasant’s dish, although that is how it is described in French cooking. However, the chocolate sets all the flavors on the edge of elegance as you place each flavorful bite in your mouth. The wine use in this recipe is critical. Let me stress “critical”. It is very important to make this with a wine that is a good quality wine to drink. If you like the particular wine you have chosen, by the glass when drinking it, then by all means, use it in this recipe. If it’s a cheap, young, and / or bitter wine, your dish will surely taste like such, as this recipe uses 3 cups of the wine. That’s a lot of wine and a lot of BAD taste if you use BAD wine. I would even go as far to tell you to splurge on this wine! It will be worth every cent. That’s what makes this recipe so special and all the flavors meld so perfectly.
Coq Au Vin
8 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 to 10 chicken thighs
1 Lg. red onion, roughly chopped
3 LG. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 Tblsp flour
1 C. chicken stock
3 C. dry red wine (burgundy or cabernet)
3 Tblsp tomato paste
3 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1 – lb mushrooms, halved or sliced depending on size
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tblsp dark roasted cocoa
Heat a large covered Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add the bacon, and stir occasionally until crisp, and most of the fat has been rendered. Remove the bacon and set aside.
Brown the chicken pieces on both sides-in batches-in the bacon fat (3 to 4 minutes per side to brown). Remove the chicken to a plate.
Remove all but 4 Tblsp of the fat, and then add the onions and carrots. Stir occasionally until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the flour and reduce heat to medium low. Stir constantly for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine, stock, tomato paste, thyme, oregano, bay leaf, and mushrooms.
Increase heat to high. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Then add the chicken, its accumulated juices, and the bacon. As soon as the liquid begins to boil again reduce to simmer and cover.
Cook 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is tender.
Remove the chicken and cover with foil. Increase heat to high. Skim off fat as sauce boils. When sauce is syrupy, season to taste with salt and pepper.
You can serve this with egg noodles or boiled potatoes and a crusty bread to soak up the juices.