Coq au Vin
After last week’s big Julia Child meal, I thought I might feel the need to take some time off. After all, that was a pretty heavy-duty Julia encounter. But would I want to quit the Julia endeavor?
I did not! By Wednesday, I was really anxious to see what Julia had in store for me.
Turns out, it was her famous Coq au Vin. (Rooster cooked in wine sauce)
Mind you, I’ve done the Coq au Vin thing before. Bacon, wine, chicken. Been there, done that. It often ends up tasting bitter and the sauce, limp. Not a fun game.
So, let’s start over with Julia’s Coq.
Trust me, when you taste it, you will go
“Oh . . . My . . . .
I’m sorry, but you will take the name of the Lord in vain. It’s a given.
Here’s how you do it:
Read the recipe thoroughly. Reverence it.
Remember my pet peeve about bay leaves? One bay leaf does not add any flavor whatsoever. Buzz two handfulls of bay leaves in your coffee grinder. You will suddenly realize what bay leaves smell like! Use a quarter teaspoon in this recipe.
Stir 2 Tbs of flour into 3 TBS butter and set aside. (Butter & flour = easy as pie.)
It calls for six ounces of bacon. A packet comes to 16 oz, one pound. Each slice equals one once (My God, when will we ever switch to Metric???) Really, just divide the packet into three portions. Freeze two.
Fry the bacon. Meanwhile, boil the pearl onions so you can de-oinion them.
Saute the chicken in the bacon fat. (Julia’s recipe calls for a 3-lb chicken cut up. Yes, this tastes wonderful, but I really don’t like dealing with chicken skin, bones, and gristle. Opt for 2 lbs of boneless, skinless, chicken thighs instead.) Although this recipe was originally developed to use an old rooster past his prime, it's not like likely any of use live in a French farmhouse. Use store-bought chicken.
Saute the onions in butter, then cook them down with chicken stock until syrupy.
Saute the mushrooms in butter.
After the chicken has been fried in bacon fat, flame that sucker with ½ cup of cognac. Don’t be afraid! Flames are fun. Flames make food taste good!
After you have spoken with the building's automatic alarm people assuring them you're not on fire, add the onions to the chicken.
Then the mushrooms.
Then the wine
Bring to a boil and stir some of it into the butter-flour slurry. (This is so that it won't go lumpy when added to the rest)
Add the butter-flour slurry to the simmering chicken. Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Serve over white rice or noodles. Be prepared to exclaim totally inappropriate things when you taste this at the dinner table.
It's that good.