Coq au Vin (15)
Coq au Vin is a classic French dish of chicken cooked in red wine
1 bottle pinot noir
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 small onion, cut into quarters
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed with a knife, plus 1 peeled and finely sliced
1 bay leaf
Small bunch of thyme
1 tbsp butter
150g piece of streaky bacon, cut into thick chunks
2 tbsp plain flour
4 chicken thighs
2 chicken legs
20 baby onions or 10 shallots, peeled but left whole (drop them briefly in boiling water first to loosen the peel)
20 button mushrooms, or 10 white mushrooms, quartered
4 tbsp cognac
Coq au Vin Directions
- 1. Pour the wine into a saucepan and add the carrot, celery, onion, crushed garlic, bay leaf and 4 sprigs of thyme. Bring to the boil and reduce by half, then strain and discard the flavourings.
2. Heat the butter over a medium-high flame in a large, heavy-based pan with a lid and then add the bacon. Cook until golden, then lift out with a slotted spoon and put aside. Meanwhile, tip the flour on to a plate and season well. Roll the chicken pieces in it to coat them.
3. Put the chicken in the pan, in batches if necessary, and brown well on all sides, then lift out and put with the bacon. (Your bacon should have given off enough fat for there still to be enough in the pan for the next stage, but if not, add another tablespoon of butter or a glug of oil.)
4. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add the onions or shallots. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are beginning to caramelise, then add the mushrooms and the sliced garlic and cook for a further 4 minutes, then lift out of the pan and set aside (but not with the meat).
5. Turn up the heat, pour a little of the reduced wine into the pan and scrape the bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon, then put in the chicken and the bacon, keeping a few bits of the latter back as garnish. Pour over the brandy and set it alight, then, when the flames have gone out, add the rest of the wine and thyme leaves. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer gently for an hour.
6. Add the onions, mushrooms and garlic and simmer for another 20 minutes, keeping the lid only half on this time. Taste for seasoning and serve with the rest of the bacon sprinkled over the top, and some boiled potatoes or rice – if you're making it the day before you want to eat, which will improve its flavour, then lift the solidified fat off the top before reheating.