Coq au Vin is a classic French dish that was created as a way to cook up old roosters that had passed their prime. Because it was really a housewife’s dish, there isn’t a hard-and-fast recipe. A few key ingredients are standard, like a mirepoix, pearl onions, tougher cuts of chicken (either a stewing chicken or just the legs and thighs in a modern market), and of course wine, but the seasonings and other alcohol are up for interpretation.
As I was cooking, it looked like a ton of food, but Bryan and I polished it off without a problem. It was absolutely delicious, especially with the veggies from the pot and some roasted garlic mashed potatoes.
I portioned this for two, but it can easily be adjusted based on how many people you’re serving.
1 lb chicken legs and thighs
3-4 pieces good quality bacon or pancetta
4-5 T AP flour
2 ribs celery
2 small shallots
12-14 pearl onions
1/2 bottle Pinot Noir (Burgundy or other dry red works as well)
3 T cognac
2-3 c good quality chicken stock (I use Swanson’s low-sodium if I don’t have homemade)
fresh ground black pepper
3-4 T olive oil
1 T dried thyme
1 T dried sage
1 t celery salt
1 bay leaf
Season the chicken with salt and pepper while heating olive oil in a cast iron skillet or other deep, heavy-bottomed pan. Once the oil is hot, lightly flour the chicken, and put it straight in the pan. If you pre-flour and let it sit, it runs the risk of becoming gummy. Brown the chicken on both sides, and remove from the pan.
Slice the bacon into 1/2″ strips, and fry until crispy in the leftover chicken juice, adding more oil if necessary. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add the cognac, and let it burn off for about one minute, then deglaze with the wine. Add the chicken and bacon back into the pan, and cover with chicken stock. Add the herbs to your pot, and bring to a boil.
Cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer for about an hour, until the chicken is deliciously tender.
Serve with veggies from the pot and roasted garlic mashed potatoes. Yum.