Coq au Vin (Chicken with Wine Sauce)

Coq au Vin is a classic French dish of chicken in wine with onions, mushrooms, and bacon.  It is usually made with red wine, but I think white wine makes for better color and flavor.  In France, the only side is usually parsley potatoes, but you can add buttered green peas as well.  This recipe comes from volume 1 of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Serves 4 to 6

4 oz. bacon
Cut bacon into 1/4″ x 1″ rectangles. Simmer for 10 minutes in 2 quarts of water.  Rinse and dry.

2 Tb butter
Saute the bacon in a large skillet on low heat in butter until very lightly browned

A cut-up frying chicken
Brown in the fat used to cook the bacon

1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Season the chicken.  Return bacon to skillet, cover and cook on low for 10 minutes.  Turn chicken once.

1/4 cup brandy or cognac
Uncover, and pour in the brandy.  Carefully ignite the brandy.  Shake skillet for several seconds until the flames subside.

3 cups of dry white or rose wine
1 to 2 cups of chicken stock
1/2 Tb. tomato paste
4 cloves mashed garlic
thyme (I like to use about 2 Tbs. fresh)
1 bay leaf
Pour the wine into the skillet.  Add just enough stock to cover the chicken.  Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs.  Cover and simmer on low for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken registers 165 degrees.  Remove the chicken and keep warm.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare:
12 to 24 brown-braised onions
1/2 lb. sauteed mushrooms

Boil and reduce the liquid to about 2-1/4 cups.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Remove bay leaf.

3 Tb. flour
2 Tb. softened butter
Blend the butter and flour together into a smooth paste.  Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a whisk.  Simmer for a minute or two.

Arrange the chicken in the skillet, surround with onions and mushrooms, and baste with the sauce.  Cover and simmer on low for 4 to 5 minutes to reheat the chicken and serve decorated with sprigs of parsley.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

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