Finally the weekend arrived and my husband was allowed a bit of meat. Not that he was complaining. I did, after all, stuff his belly fully of delicious vegetarian meals last week. But men are men. And men like meat.
To reward James for his patience I made one of his favorites – Coq au Vin. I decided to clean up the side dishes, however, so as not to stray too far from our Clean Cuisine challenge.
Coq au Vin goes with creamy mashed potatoes like peanut butter goes with jelly (I know you Europeans are rolling your eyes right now but I am a Yank after all!) However, the stew felt like enough of an indulgence. Buttery mashed potatoes were not allowed. I replaced them with something a bit more nutritious – cauliflower “mashed potatoes” and that did the trick.
I figured Coq au Vin is a good recipe to share. Everyone who lives in France (or elsewhere in the world, for that matter) should know how to make coq au vin. It is wonderful and satisfying, easy to make and affordable. It is a perfect meal for a cold winter night (or a rainy spring night as we had on Saturday).
- 6 Organic Chicken legs, each cut between the thigh and drumstick (If you can find a whole organic chicken you can definitely use that but I know you can find organic legs in most of the supermarkets here. If you are in the US definitely use organic chicken and not those HUGE supermarket chicken legs that look like they came off a turkey!)
- 2 cups/500ml red wine
- 1 bouquet garni
- 2 slices of thick, streaky bacon, chopped (or 250g lardons)
- A couple pats of butter
- Splash of Cognac
- 25 Pearl Onions* (or 2 medium onions cut in chunks)
- 2 large carrots
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tablespoons Flour
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cups veal or chicken stock
- 4 Tablepoons tomato paste
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 250 g/8 oz button mushrooms, halved or quartered
- Marinate the chicken:( You can do this the night before (preferably) or 2 hours before, whenever you remember!) Pour the wine over the chicken. Add the bouquet garni and marinate in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat dry. Remove the bouquet garni but reserve the wine. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
- In a casserole dish sauté the bacon. If you are using the lardons you will probably need a bit of butter as they do not release much fat. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towel. In batches, if necessary, brown the chicken pieces on each side being careful not to burn. Deglaze the pan with the cognac in between batches. Remove the chicken to a paper towel lined tray. If there is a lot of fat in the pan tip most of it out, leaving just enough to sauté your veggies in. Add the pearl onions and carrots and sauté about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until just fragrant. Sprinkle the flour over veggies and sauté about 1 minute, being careful not to let the garlic burn. Add the reserved wine, stock, tomato paste and salt. Return the chicken and the bacon to the pot. You want the chicken pretty submerged in the wine mixture. Cover with a lid. Place casserole in the oven and cook for 1½ hours.
- Just before removing the casserole from the oven sauté the mushrooms in a pat of butter until they have released their juices and caramelized a bit. Add to the Coq au Vin, stir. Season sauce as necessary and serve.
- *To peel pearl onions cut an X shape on the bottom of each onion and cook them for about one minute in boiling water. You don't want to cook the onions - you are just helping to loosen the peel. Drain and cool before peeling the onions