This past Tuesday, February 18th, was National Drink Wine day. I didn’t even know it at the time and made Coq Au Vin for dinner while drinking half a bottle of wine, call it intuition. This was my first time attempting to make the classic French dish, which immediately makes one think of Julia Child. I know better than to claim my cooking skills are anywhere close to those of Julia Child, but they get me rave reviews in this house. Coq Au Vin is a braised chicken dish made traditionally with Burgundy wine and bone-in chicken. To make an easier weeknight version I used boneless and skinless chicken breasts and cut a few corners along the way. For base instructions and ingredients I followed a recipe posted by the barefoot contessa, Ina Garten. As with most braised dishes, the final product did not disappoint. We ate this solo like a stew, but it would be amazing served over mashed potatoes.
5 slices of thick cut applewood smoked bacon, diced (regular bacon or pancetta if you don’t want a smoky flavor)
4 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
1/2 pound of carrots cut into thick diagonal pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of brandy
1/2 bottle of Burgundy red wine (something you want to drink the other half of)
1 cup of chicken stock
10 sprigs of fresh thyme, center stem removed
2 Tbsp of butter
2 Tbsp of flour
1/2 pound of fresh mushrooms, sliced or button mushrooms.
1. In a large dutch oven brown the diced bacon over medium heat. While this is cooking slice the chicken breasts into 4-5 large strips and season generously with salt and pepper to prepare for cooking. When the bacon is fully cooked remove from pan with a slotted spoon to reserve the rendered fat in the pan.
2. Add a small amount of olive oil to the bacon grease if you need more to fully cover the bottom of the pan. Brown the slices of chicken for a few minutes on each side, do not fully cook. Brown in batch if necessary to not crowd and set on a plate for later.
3. Add the onions, carrots, 2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper to the oil in the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until onions are lightly browned and soft. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute to release a nice garlic aroma without burning.
4. Pour in the brandy, bacon, chicken ( with the juices on the plate), stir in gently and allow to cook for a few minutes before adding the wine, chicken stock, and thyme. Bring to a simmer.
5. Once simmering cover with a lid and place in the oven at 250 degrees F for 35-40 minutes.
6. While the chicken is in the oven slice your mushrooms and place in a heavy skillet with 2 tbsp of butter and 1-2 cloves of minced garlic. Heat over medium heat until mushrooms are lightly browned and softened stirring frequently. There should be a bit of liquid with the mushrooms, if there isn’t add more butter. Add 2 tbsp of flour slowly to the mushrooms and butter to thicken.
7. When chicken is ready to remove from the oven (make sure it’s not pink in the center of the largest piece) return to stove top on medium/low heat and stir in the thickened mushrooms. Simmer for 10 minutes before serving. If you want an even thicker sauce add a little more flour to the stew (a little goes a long way).