Easy Coq Au Vin

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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.

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Ingredients: 

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.

Directions: 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Cheers!

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