Saturday, November 22, 2008
My currently favorite way to cook chicken!
Last night we had some family over for dinner and I prepared one of our Fall favorites, Coq au Vin. This is comfort food at its best and you can make part of it in advance so it's great for entertaining. It's traditionally made with red wine but I actually prefer a lighter version made with white and red wine. I promise that you'll love it!
2 T olive oil
4 oz bacon, diced
1 (3-4 lb) chicken, cut in 8ths. Lucky us, our son the Flockmster gave us one of his free range chickens...sooooo tasty.
1/2 lb carrots, cut diagonally in 1" pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
1 T chopped garlic
1/4 c cognac or brandy (optional - I didn't have any so skipped it)
1 1/2 c white wine + 1/2 c red wine (or just use what you have)
1 can chicken broth or homemade stock if you have it
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 T unsalted butter
1 1/2 T flour
1/2 lb frozen small whole onions
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms thickly sliced
salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or dutch oven. Add bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 - 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove bacon and set aside.
Dry chicken well and season with salt and pepper. In the same pan as you cooked the bacon, brown the chicken, turning to brown evenly. This step is just to brown the chicken so don't be concerned about cooking it through. Remove browned chicken and set aside with the bacon.
Add the carrots, onions, 2T salt and 1t pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 - 12 minutes until the onions are lightly caramelized. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine, chicken stock and thyme. If you are using a dutch oven you can add the bacon and chicken to the pot. If, like me, you gave away your dutch oven because it was just too heavy to manage, place the chicken and bacon in a roasting pan and pour the vegetable mixture over it. Either way, cover the pot/pan with a tight fitting lid or foil and cook at 300 degrees for around 30 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through (not pink). Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove. Remove the chicken pieces, set aside and cover with foil.
Mash 1 T of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions and return the chicken to the pan. In a saute pan, melt the remaining 1T butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 - 10 minutes until browned. Add to the stew along with the chicken and bring the entire mixture to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
Serve over these mashed potatoes:
3 1/2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 8oz package cream cheese
1/2 c sour cream
1/4 c milk
1/2 c chopped chives or green onions
Butter a 6 - 8 cup casserole dish. Cook potatoes in boiling, salted water until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Add cream cheese and mash well. Mix in sour cream and milk and continue mashing then add the chives or onions. Spoon into prepared dish. This can be made ahead of time, even refrigerated over night. Let it sit at room temperature for an hour or so then reheat uncovered in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. If your oven is already full, just reheat in the microwave for about 4 minutes, stir and then 4 more minutes.
I put a BIG mound of the potatoes on a plate then spoon the coq au vin over the top. Mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm. The Coq au Vin is based on a recipe by Ina Garten and Brigette Lyons gets credit for the potatoes.
There's even a little left over for lunch :)