It has taken me a week to get round to writing this one up! How very remiss of me. Anyway, last Monday was a Bank Holiday so I had a bit more time to play with and so decided to cook something I’d not done before which would take a little more time. Alberto was working late so I thought that this looked nice and would be easy for him to re-heat when he got home.
The recipe for the Coq au Vin is from the book The Food of France and is supposed to serve 8, but I scaled it down. I used chicken thighs and drumsticks for the two of us rather than a whole chicken.
For the Coq Au Vin
2 1.6kg chickens (as I say, I used thighs – two thighs and 1 drumstick per person)
1 bottle of red wine
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
250g of bacon, diced (I used half a pack of smoked bacon lardons which I happened to have in the fridge.)
60g of butter
20 pickling or pearl onions (Sainsbury’s didn’t have any of these so I used small round shallots instead. (“That’s shallot!”))
250g of button mushrooms (As Alberto and I both hate mushrooms I substituted sliced carrots and chopped red pepper instead. Worked well!)
30g of plain flour
1 litre of chicken stock
125ml of brandy
1 tablespoon of tomato puree
If using whole chickens, joint each chicken into 8 pieces. If using bits like I was then don’t bother!
Put the wine, bay leaves, thyme and chicken pieces in a bowl and leave to marinate, for a couple of hours at least, preferably overnight if you’re organised enough.
The potatoes take an hour and a half, whereas the Coq au vin only takes an hour so we’ll move on to the potatoes whilst the chicken is marinating.
For the potatoes
1 kg of baking potatoes, peeled and placed in a bowl of cold water. (For just the two of us I used three medium baking potatoes.)
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
500ml of double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 160.
Slice the potatoes into thin slices, about 3mm thick.
Place the slices into a bowl as you cut them.
Trim the ends off the garlic cloves but don’t peel them. Grate the cloves and the flesh will be grated and the papery skin (mostly) left behind.
Scatter the grated garlic over the potatoes
Season the potatoes, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the cream over the potatoes and mix well again.
Place the potato slices into the gratin dish. I used a newish dish that I bought recently which is a rectangular, ceramic dish, reasonably deep. The potatoes should come to just below the top of the dish.
Press the potato down with the back of a spoon so it forms a solid layer. The cream should come to just below the top layer of potato.
Pop the dish in the oven and bake for 1½ hours, until the potatoes are completely tender. (If the cream looks like it’s splitting then turn the oven down a little bit.)
Right – back to the stew!
Fry the bacon in a frying pan until golden and then remove from the pan and set aside.
Melt a third of the butter in the pan and sauté the onions until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add some more butter and sauté the carrot and pepper for 4-5 minutes. Remove and set aside. (Obviously, in the original recipe this is where you sauté the mushrooms!)
Drain the chicken but keep the marinade – you’ll need it shortly – and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the olive oil and the rest of the butter to the saucepan and sauté the chicken pieces until golden all over. Stir in the flour.
Transfer the chicken to a large saucepan and add the stock.
Pour the brandy into the frying pan and boil, stirring, for 30 seconds to deglaze the pan. Pour this over the chicken.
Add the marinade, cooked onions, pepper, carrot, bacon and tomato pureé.
Cook over a medium heat for an hour or so until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
Delicious! Serve with the dauphinoise potatoes and some steamed spring greens