Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Coq au Vin

Ah.... this is one of my favourite dishes, to make, to serve and to eat.  Like the Maltese fenkata, this is a dish best served with loved ones!! :) I've adapted it to use things I can find in a regular butcher/supermarket/greengrocer.
It really makes a difference to cook this the night before, so try to do that if possible as the flavour really develops.  Plus it's way easier if you're entertaining anyway!  If not, try and make it as early on in the day as possible, and leave to sit for a couple of hours before reheating and serving!
Really good served with some kind of roast potatoes (i made hasselbacks, recipe to follow) and/or some fresh beautiful loaf of bread (luckily there's no short supply of that in Malta!)

Delicious and nutritious comfort food :)

As far as the pot to cook it in, if you have some kind of cast iron pot with a lid, this would be idea.  Otherwise, a heavy large deep frying pan (with a lid) or wide, heavy, shallow pot is fine). 

Ingredients (serves 4-5 hungry people)
  • 50 g butter
  • olive oil
  • 1 whole chicken (ask the butcher to cut it up into 6-8 pieces)
  • 100-150 grams bacon (i used lean/back), chopped
  • 12-15 small (pickling) onions, about the size of shallots, peeled but left whole.
  • garlic - i used about half a head, chopped roughly
  • a tablespoon or so white flour
  • 1 bottle decent red wine (i use cabarnet sauvignon/shiraz)
  • Bouquet Garni (or herbes de Provence plus a couple of bay-leaves)
  • 300g whole button mushrooms (i trim then pry out the stalks, and add them to the pot!)
  • a shot (or good dash) of cognac (or brandy)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, sea-salt.

Wash the chicken pieces, and pat dry with kitchen towel.  Season with pepper.
Heat the butter and some oil (see advice up top for cookware!), and saut√© the chicken on a low-medium heat, cooking it in batches so that it doesn't steam in its own juices.  Sprinkle the chicken with some sea-salt while cooking :)
tasty chickaaan! golden goodness!
 Once the pieces are all golden, put them aside and repeat until all chicken pieces are browned :)

As soon as you remove the chicken,  Turn the heat right down...

You will have a pot with delicious looking caramelised burnt sticky bits - this is GOOD! but the amount of fat in the pan - BAD! so drain out most of the oil/butter/chicken fat mixture, just leave a thin layer.  turn the heat up a bit.

Baby onions getting their sizzle on :)
 Add the onions and stir around for a few minutes until they brown a little.

Add the bacon to the pan, stir for a few minutes until bacon is getting crispyish.  Add the garlic, stir for about 30 seconds, then sprinkle the flower, stirring well.
Bacon, garlic and onion just before the wine is added.

Add a good dash of wine, and quickly stir, scrape off all the good burnt bits so that they can get into the sauce properly.  once you've done this, add the rest of the bottle.

Return the chicken (and any juices) to the pan carefully, fitting them all into one layer.  Add the the bouquet garni (or herbes plus bayleaves).
coming together!
Once it starts bubbling, lower the heat to absolute minimum (move to a smaller burner if necessary), cover with a well fitting lid, and leave for 15 minutes.

When the 15 minutes are over, add the mushrooms and gently try to get them into the wine... it will get much easier to do this once they are cooked a little.

Mushrooms in, now it's time for a looong simmer!
Cover again, and simmer extremely gently for 45 min-1 hour, don't stir, but occasionally pour some wine/sauce over the chicken and mushrooms.

When it's done, you will have a hard time trying to move the chicken without the meat falling off the bone.  

Ideally, leave for at least a few hours once it's done.

To serve:  Reheat slowly on the stove, until it's been simmering for about 10 minutes (until the chicken is completely heated through).  Remove the chicken VERY gently, as well as the mushrooms and onions with a slotted flat spoon, basically leaving all the liquid and nothing else behind.
Place in an oven-proof dish, and keep hot in a low oven.

Turn the heat on the wine sauce right up, add the shot of cognac, and reduce until you have about 400-500mls of sauce, making sure you scrape allllll the yummy stuck on burnt bits for flavour.  The flour that you added at the start will now help thicken the sauce, and the cognac just adds an extra rich dimension to it.  The sauce will be velvety and full of savoury goodness.

Ready to dig in!
Serve the chicken with the sauce poured over it, with plenty of red wine, fresh crusty bread and/or roast potatoes.  NOM!

1 comment:

  1. oh and delicious it was. I can vouch for that hehe :-)