|Coq au Vin|
Thanks to the JC100, I can now say with satisfaction that I have successfully prepared Coq au Vin at home. And I didn't burn the joint down or lose any eyebrows to the cause when I flamed the brandy!
|Bottle of E&J VSOP Brandy|
|Bottle of Ravenswood Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel 2010|
After consulting with one of the shopkeepers, I purchased a bottle of E&J VSOP (on sale!) and a bottle of Ravenswood Napa Valley Old Vine Zinfandel 2010 and then headed to the market to procure the remaining ingredients. By the time I got back to the house, I was ready to dive in.
|Blanched Slab Bacon|
Reading through the recipe is vitally important when preparing Julia Child's Coq au Vin.
Before you really get going on the Coq au Vin, you need to prepare the pork lardons...
|Bowl of Cipollini Onions|
|Braised Cipollini Onions|
|Trimmed and Quartered White Mushrooms|
At this point, it's not unthinkable that you've consumed half the bottle of red wine you bought for the chicken and have started to wonder why you decided to subject yourself to this special form of torture.
If you think this might happen to you, then go ahead and buy two bottles of wine.
|Coq au Vin|
Okay... We ate in front of the television and not at the kitchen table. After cooking for what felt like forever, all I wanted to do was flop down on the living room floor and eat my painstakingly prepared and elegant meal like a savage. I don't think Julia would have minded.
- Julia's recipe calls for "frying-chicken parts" but doesn't specify which parts. Based on my experience, I'd advise using chicken thighs and avoid using chicken breasts. The thighs stayed moist and tender throughout the cooking process, while the chicken breast I prepared wound up tougher and drier.
- If you do decide to use brandy, pull the pan off the heat before you ignite it. And don't be afraid to let out a little "ooh" while you watch the flame dance.
- While I prepared this dish on a weeknight, I wouldn't recommend attempting the same unless you have ample time make your way through each of the steps. I worked from home on Tuesday, so I didn't have to worry about making the Coq au Vin after spending 2 hours on a bus.
Coq au Vin
When the temperatures start to dip, make Julia Child's version of this classic French stew in which chicken is braised slowly in red wine.
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) lardons (see note)
- 2 1/2 to 3 pounds frying-chicken parts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or good cooking oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 or 2 large cloves garlic, pureed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/3 cup canned Italian plum tomatoes
- 3 cups young red wine (zinfandel, Mâcon, or Chianti type)
- 1 or more cups chicken stock
- Beurre manié for the sauce (1 1/2 tablespoons each flour and softened butter blended to a paste)
- Fresh parsley sprigs or chopped parsley
- 1/3 cup good brandy (optional)
- 12 to 16 small brown-braised white onions
- 3 cups fresh mushrooms, trimmed, quartered, and sautéed
- Sauté the blanched bacon or salt pork and remove to a side dish, leaving the fat in the pan.
- [Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper.] Brown the chicken in the pork fat, adding a little olive oil if needed.
- Flame the chicken with the brandy, if you wish... it does give its own special flavor, besides being fun to do.
- Add the garlic, bay, thyme, and tomatoes. Pour in the wine and enough stock to barely cover the ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cover, and simmer slowly 20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender when pressed.
- Remove the chicken to a side dish and spoon surface fat off the cooking juices. Pour the juices into a saucepan and taste very carefully for strength and seasoning. Boil down rapidly if it needs strength, adding more of the seasonings if you think them necessary. [Julia is totally telling you to taste as you go!]
- Off heat, whisk [in] the beurre manié to make a lightly thickened sauce. Bring briefly to the simmer -- the sauce should be just thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
- [Return the chicken to the pan you used to simmer the chicken with the wine and stock. Pour the sauce over the chicken.]
- Strew the braised onions and sautéed mushrooms over the chicken, baste with the sauce, and simmer a few minutes, basting, to rewarm the chicken and to blend flavors.
- Decorate with parsley and serve.
- For the lardons: When you use bacon or salt pork in cooking, you want to remove its salt as well as its smoky flavor, which would permeate the rest of the food. To do so, you blanch it, meaning you drop it into a saucepan of cold water to cover it by 2 to 3 inches, bring it to the boil, and simmer 5 to 8 minutes; then drain, refresh in cold water, and pat dry on paper towels. [Then cut into 1- by 1/4-inch pieces.]
For more in The JC100 Series of Julia Child's Recipes, see:
One year ago: Spring Menu Tasting at Fives at The Peninsula New York
Two years ago: Piquillo: Being First Doesn't Make It the Best
Three years ago: Weekend Brunch in New York City, Three Ways
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