After trying out countless of Coq au Vin recipes, I chucked them all away and cooked the dish from scratch….my way. I never did get hold of a rooster as is the traditional way of preparing this classic dish. Nor did I drown the bird in a whole bottle of red wine. None the less, just one bite is to die for…
In one recipe I had to marinate the chicken in red wine for 2 days in the fridge, cook it, and let it marinate for another 2 days. Sounds like overkill? It was. I’m all for marinating but at times it is possible for flavours to be completely overwhelming and not too pleasing. If you really want to let the meat soak up
all the right amount of flavour, cook it, let it marinate overnight and enjoy it the next evening.
Personally, I don’t like to drink red wine but have litres of the stuff stashed in the pantry, ready to be used in cooking when needed. Following pedantic recipes using only red wine as the cooking liquid made the dish just too winey (and left me whiney), so I decided to dilute it with some chicken stock. Result? Perfection.
After experimenting with cooking on the hob and in the oven, and different cooking times, the oven came out on top. If you have the time, slow is the way to go. The longer the better. When it is time to serve up, the meat will fall off the bones and melt in your mouth.
Phew, that’s one project successfully ticked off. Now it’s time to figure out my latest obsession – Lemon Meringue Pie…stay tuned.
Coq au Vin
Preparation: 20 mins – Cooking: +2 hours
- 15ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
- 150g (5 oz) bacon lardons
- 30g (1 oz) butter
- 2 chicken legs
- 6 baby onions [shallots], peeled
- 2 carrots
- 1 bay leaf
- 2.5ml (½ tsp) dried thyme
- 250ml (1 cup) red wine
- 250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
- 15ml (1 tbsp) tomato purée
- 5ml (1 tsp) brown sugar
- 200g (7 oz) button mushrooms, washed
- 15ml (1 tbsp) corn flour (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 170°C/350°F/gas 4).
- Heat the oil in a large cast iron pot and fry the bacon until lightly browned. Remove the bacon and set aside.
- Melt the butter in the oil and fry the chicken pieces until browned.
- Add the bacon, onions, carrots, bay leaf, thyme, wine, stock, purée and sugar to the meat.
When the sauce is bubbling, place the lid on the pot and transfer it to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- After the elapsed time, lower the temperature to 130°C (fan 110°C/250°F/gas 1) and cook for another hour.
- After an hour, place the mushrooms with the chicken and cook for another 30 minutes at 130°C (fan 110°C/250°F/gas 1).
- Place the pot on the hob on low heat, remove the chicken and vegetables with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
- Mix the corn flour with a bit of water and slowly pour into the sauce, stirring at the same time. When the sauce has thickened to your desire, serve immediately.
- Alternatively, let it cool down (outside the fridge if you live in a cool climate) and marinate further overnight. Gently heat up the next day and enjoy!
- Mash or boiled rice is all you need to truly enjoy this meal.
- If you can’t get hold of lardons, any bacon will do.
- Use a bouquet garni if you can, and leave out the thyme and bay leaf in the recipe.
- If you are a red wine lover, use 500ml (2 cups) of wine and leave out the stock.
- If you’re lucky enough to own a huge cast iron pot, don’t be afraid to double up on the ingredients to provide for more people.