Coq au Vin

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At our house, we do a lot of adapted recipes, even the most traditional ones. We substitute a little of this, add a little of that, combine these two ideas, or even entirely make stuff up. (See the entire tag on our blog – Twisted Traditions). But sometimes you just can’t do that. Coq au vin literally just means “cock {rooster ⇒ chicken} of wine,” which, if you were speaking French, you’d understand to mean chicken cooked in wine. So you’d think this would be wide open for interpretation. But hearing the phrase ‘coq au vin,’ doesn’t just make most people think vague thoughts of wine + chicken; it makes most minds immediately jump to this specific dish, Julia Child, and her famous cookbook. So for this, we went to the penultimate source: Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The recipe we’re sharing is 99% true to hers – with two differences. One, we skipped the cognac and lighting it on fire, solely because I didn’t feel like going out and buying some. We’ll definitely do it next time, because I really want to light cognac on fire. And two, instead of portioning the mushrooms like Julia instructs, I chopped them fairly finely, because I don’t really like the texture of mushrooms, although I do love their flavor.

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Coq au Vin

(Recipe from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
Ingredients: 
  • Chicken
    • 3-4oz bacon, sliced into lardons
    • 2 + 2 tbsp butter
    • 2 1/2 – 3 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken
    • Salt & pepper
    • 3 cups dry, full-bodied red wine
    • 1-2 cups beef stock
    • 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • 1/4 tsp thyme
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 3 tbsp flour
  • Mushrooms
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 lb mushrooms
  • Onions
    • 20-25 pearl onions, peeled
    • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
    • 1 1/2 tbsp oil
    • 1/2 cup beef stock
    • 1/4 tsp thyme
    • 1/2 bay leaf
Instructions: 
  1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a simmer and submerge the lardons of bacon. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp butter until melted.
  3. Once bacon has simmered, transfer it to the dutch oven. Saute for a few minutes over medium heat until lightly browned, then remove to the side.
  4. Pat chicken pieces dry. Top with 1/2 tsp salt and a few turns of pepper. Brown each piece on all sides in the hot butter/bacon fat.
  5. Return the bacon to the dutch oven and cook over low-medium for 10 minutes, flipping the chicken once.
  6. Pour wine into the dutch oven. Scrape the bottom of the dish to remove any stuck brown bits.
  7. Add additional stock until the chicken is just covered. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs.
  8. Cover and simmer for ~30 minutes.
  9. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
  10. For the onions: In a skillet, heat butter and oil together over medium heat. Once warm, add the onions. Saute for 10 minutes, rolling the onions around frequently. Pour in the stock and add herbs. Braise, covered, simmering lightly for ~40 minutes.
  11. For the mushrooms: In a skillet, heat butter and oil together over medium heat. Once the butter has foamed and subsided, add the mushrooms. Saute for 6-8 minutes, shaking the pan frequently. Once lightly browned, remove to the side.
  12. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken from the dish.
  13. Increase heat and boil the braising liquid until it has reduced to ~ 2 1/4 cups. [Julia’s very specific suggestion, not mine.] Discard the bay leaf and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Remove from heat.
  14. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tbsp butter and flour. Once combined, whisk into the braising liquid.
  15. Return liquid to a slow simmer. Return the chicken to the dish, along with the mushrooms and onions.
  16. Simmer for just a few additional minutes, basting the chicken.
  17. Julia would serve with potatoes, but you can do whatever you want 🙂
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Red Wine Braised Beef

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Now that finals are over, we have some time to make a delicious dinner and also catch up on some of our favorite TV shows, Top Chef in particular.  There was an episode where one of the chefs had an hour to make something, and she chose to use the pressure cooker to braise some meat.  We thought, “pressure cookers are cool, but you know, we actually have the time to really braise something.”  There’s something about braising – meat simmering in a rich liquid for hours on end – that always sounds good, and tastes even better!  Braising is also a lot easier to make than most people think, as there isn’t much technical skill or finesse that goes into the dish.

We made oven roasted carrots and beets and homemade truffle Parmigiano-Reggiano mashed potatoes.  The braising liquid is a great sauce that goes well on top of pretty much everything. You’ll definitely want to pair this with a starch that’ll soak up the delicious liquid so you won’t embarrass yourself by slurping it off your plate. Because you will not want to let it go to waste!

We did not use a bottle of wine out of our collection to cook with, but we did open one to drink with it. In a slightly belated celebration of our first wedding anniversary, we opened a bottle of our “wedding wine.” Our favorite vintage, of our favorite blend, from our favorite winery – King Family Vineyard‘s 2010 Meritage.

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Red Wine Braised Beef

Ingredients: 
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 6 carrots, roughly diced
  • 1 bottle merlot wine
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1.5 lb beef short ribs
  • 2.5 lb beef shoulder roast
  • 12 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions: 
  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Cut the beef shoulder into smaller portions, roughly the same size as the short rib portions. Season all sides with the salt and pepper.
  3. Brown the beef on all sides briefly. Remove to the side.
  4. Strip the thyme from its sprig. Let leaves remain whole.
  5. Add onions, carrots, and half of the thyme to the Dutch oven. Stir to coat in the oil and scrape up any brown bits from the beef. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the garlic to the dish and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  7. Deglaze the dish with the entire bottle of wine. Adjust heat to a light simmer. Allow to reduce by half.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  9. Return beef to the dish and add the beef broth, bays leaves, and the rest of the thyme.
  10. Cover and place in the oven for 3 hours.
  11. Be careful removing from the oven. Serve over potatoes, rice, or another starch.
Serves 10-12.

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Oven Braised Mustard Chicken

We’re still pretty (very!) new to this whole blogging thing. And sometimes I really want to write down and publish a recipe, because I liked it enough to have it in our repertoire, but I feel like I have very little creative to say about it. This was my dilemma with this dish. Usually I solve this problem by making Selim, who is by far and away the more creative of this pair, write the post. I couldn’t bully him into it this time, so here we are. Don’t judge too much 😉

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We’ve been on a little bit of a kick recently, where we cook meat in the oven all afternoon at a low temperature. So far it’s turned out great! This mustard chicken was our latest experiment. It yielded a tasty and fall-off-the-bone chicken, plus flavorful veggies and broth to accompany it.

Oven Braised Mustard Chicken

Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of liquid from kalamata olives (not oil)
  • 10 kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 turns of black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 5 chicken drumsticks
Instructions:
  1. Pre-heat the oven 250 degrees.
  2. Whisk together all of the ingredients except for the chicken, onion, and bell peppers.
  3. Place the onion and chicken in a casserole dish. Pour the liquid over top.
  4. Place in the oven, uncovered, and cook for a total of  3 1/2 hours.
  5. Flip the drumsticks and stir up the liquid once, about halfway through.
  6. Slice and add the bell peppers to the dish after three hours of cooking / with 30 minutes left.
Serves 4.