Recipe: Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine)

This classic French stewed chicken recipe (actual translation is “rooster/cock in wine”) with bacon, mushrooms, and onions is such a wonderful one to have in your arsenal of favorites.  It’s not terribly difficult to make, extremely impressive sounding, and the taste is outstanding.  These three reasons alone should have you running to your local grocery store to pick up a few fresh ingredients to make this for dinner soon.  Even better (for you), I used a “real” recipe as my starting point, so this is going to *look* like a real recipe when I finish this post.  Please know that I did use The Force when making it, so I took liberties with the recipe as I was making it for my family, but I’ll include those notes throughout the recipe for you.  I hope you’ll consider making this recipe soon… it’s absolutely delicious!

Ingredients:

  • Bacon slices (I sliced up 1/3 package into small diced pieces
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced, or equal amount of sliced leeks (I used leeks)
  • 6 chicken breasts (skinless/boneless)CoqAuVin
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups red wine (pinot noir, burgundy, zinfindel – I used James River Cellars Rad Red)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Several fresh thyme sprigs (or use dried)
  • Several fresh parsley sprigs (or use dried)
  • 1/2 lb button mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Directions:

  1. Brown bacon on medium high heat in a dutch oven big enough to hold the chicken, about 10 minutes.  Remove cooked bacon, set aside.  Keep bacon fat in the pan.  NOTE:  I used a large/deep skillet, with a lid, that could go in the oven
  2. Working in batched if necessary, add onions (my leeks are shown in the middle pic on the left side of photo) and brown until slightly toasty.  Remove and then brown chicken well, on all sides, about 10 minutes.  I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper during the browning stage to bring out the flavor of the chicken.
  3. Once chicken is all browned, return all the chicken and onions/leeks to the pot, add the garlic, chicken stock, wine, and herbs.  Add back the bacon.  Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through.  NOTE: at this point, I put the lid on the pan and popped it into the oven at 300 degrees until the chicken was tender.  I had started this dish much earlier in the day than was necessary, so I needed to slow down the cooking time.
  4. Once chicken is cooked through, remove the chicken and onions to a separate platter, cover and keep warm.  Remove bay leaves, herb sprigs, and discard.  I like to keep the garlic in the sauce, but you’re welcome to remove the garlic at this point if you prefer.
  5. Add mushrooms to the remaining liquid and turn the heat to high.  Boil quickly and reduce the liquid by three fourths until it becomes thick and saucy.  Lower the heat, stir in the butter, and adjust seasonings as needed.  NOTE: I added a touch of milk to tone down the seasonings.
  6. Return chicken and onions to the pan to reheat and coat with sauce.  Adjust seasonings and garnish with parsley and serve.

This should serve 6.  Serve with roasted potatoes (as seen in the photo), mashed potatoes, or over egg noodles.  My husband loved this dish and commented that “everyone would eat this”, meaning that I could serve this to my entire family and everyone would be happy.  Spices weren’t too overpowering and the flavor of the wine and stock meshed well together to create a thoroughly enjoyable meal.

Nothing could have been better to hear, in my opinion!  I hope you try it and hear the same accolades…

 

Recipe: Red Steak Stir Fry

The house smelled soooo good when I was making dinner last night…. a definite plus after a weekend of pizza and dinners out, no matter how yummy.  Since M asked me to make a stir fry, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from work and was able to throw this delicious meal together without too much difficulty.  Picking up two sale packages of “stir-fry beef”, a package of sliced mushrooms, a small package of Haricot Verts (long thin green beans), a bag of onions, and a bottle of Korean Teriyaki sauce, I started cooking in “layers”.  Let me explain what I mean by that…

RedSteakStirFry

Start with the onions and mushrooms.  Slice half an onion and half of the package of sliced mushrooms, and saute them in a pat of butter and a little bit of olive oil until they start to brown.  To this mixture, add some Napa Valley Pinot Noir red wine (this is what I had in the fridge… any tasty red wine will work well in this recipe) and allow the veggies to soak up the wine (here’s your first layer of flavor).  Remove the veggies and add another pat of butter and a little bit of olive oil, allowing the pan to get hot.  Add salt and pepper to the beef and add to the melted butter/oil in the saute pan.  Brown the beef thoroughly and then add more red wine (this is your second layer of flavor) so the beef can soak up more of this flavor.  Once the beef is cooked, return the onion/mushroom mixture and bring everything to temperature.

While sauteing the vegetables and beef, take a moment to pull the stir-fry sauce together.  This sauce was a blend of 2/3 cup red wine, 1/3 cup of Teriyaki sauce, some garlic, some ginger, and a spoonful of flour.  Whisk the sauce thoroughly to incorporate the flour into the sauce and wait to add the sauce until the beef is thoroughly cooked and toasty and the veggies are returned to the pan.  This will be your third layer of flavor.

Since the Haricot Verts are so incredibly delicate and quick cooking, I would suggest adding the beans and the sauce close to the same time in the cooking process.  Toss everything together for a few minutes to allow the flour to cook and the beans to warm.  I did add 1/4 cup water to thin the sauce a bit, but the stir-fry sauce I had made was absolutely delicious.  Served over a bit of brown rice (I microwaved a package of brown basmati rice), it was a thoroughly satisfying meal… warm, tasty, and totally yummy.

Try your own version of this stir-fry at your house… chances are that it will become your family’s favorite as well!