Friday, February 24, 2012

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin

For this dish I remain in Europe, but go west to France. With Mardi Gras having just past (and New Orleans cuisine heavily influenced by the French), I wanted to get in the spirit by cooking this dish. It's also a dish that has been on the To Cook list for a while now.

The Challenge

Using some advanced techniques in a braised chicken dish such as building flavor with a mirepoix, and using a roux to make a slurry.

The Source

I chose to replicate Marc Matsumoto's dish off of his site, No Recipes, partially because he created this dish from leftovers. I'm not good enough yet to be able to do this but I have taken steps towards this goal.

The only omission I made from the original was cipollini onions simply because the supermarket was out of stock when I went shopping for ingredients.


1/3 pound extra thick cut bacon cut into batons
8 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic sliced thin
1 splash Cognac or Armanac
2 cups red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 or 2 bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons flour
8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered
8 ounces cipollini onions, peeled
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped


1. In a large chef’s pan or dutch oven, fry the bacon over medium heat until most of the fat has rendered out (but not until the bacon is crisp). Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Generously salt and pepper the chicken thighs and place in the hot pan, skin side down. Leave undisturbed for 6-7 minutes or until skin is golden brown, then flip allowing to brown lightly on the second side. Transfer to plate.

Chicken Sauté

2. Remove 2 Tbs of fat from the pan and set aside in a small bowl. Add the onion, celery and garlic and saute until soft, scrapping the fond off the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t burn. Hit the pan with a generous splash of Cognac to deglaze the pan. Allow most of the liquid to evaporate, then add the red wine, chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, and tomato paste. Return the bacon and chicken to the pan and turn several times to make sure they are well coated and submerged in the liquid. Cover with the lid slightly askew (so steam can escape) and simmer over medium low heat until the chicken is tender 35 to 45 minutes.

Reserved Fat
Deglazed mirepoix
Chicken and Bacon Added Back to the Braising Fluid

3. Add 2 Tbs flour to the fat you’ve reserved and stir until there are no lumps. When the chicken is tender, transfer to a plate and tent with foil. Add the mushrooms and onions to the pan and turn up the heat to medium, simmering uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the onions are cooked and the sauce has reduced a bit. Add a few tablespoons of sauce to the fat/flour mixture and stir to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the sauce in the pan one spoonful at a time, mixing well after each addition to make sure there are no lumps. I don’t like my sauce too thick, so I stopped about 2/3 of the way through, but if you like a very thick sauce, you can add all the roux. Salt and pepper to taste, then return the chicken to to pot to reheat and coat with the sauce. Serve over mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or as a stew with a crusty baguette. Garnish with the parsley.

Flour Added... Form a Roux
Braising Fluid Added to the Roux to Form a Slurry
Mushrooms Added to Finish the Sauce


Yes, the slurry made the sauce rich with depth of flavor that is difficult to describe.

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