Serves 4 to 6
Although Coq au Vin is made in many regions of France, I learned this particular recipe from friends in a small village just outside Dijon in Burgundy’s Cote d’Or. I like this version because the wine flavor isn’t quite as sharp as most versions. Also, since it uses a white Burgundy, the color is nicer. It is also less fatty than most versions.
Originally this was a dish designed to make use of an old rooster that needed to be cooked a long time in wine to tenderize it. Most likely you do not have a venerable old cock sitting on the roost. When made with the young chickens available in the market today, the flavor will not be quite as rich as the original version, but delicious none the less.
1 large chicken cut into serving pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Herbs d’Provence
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
2 or 3 strips of lean thick cut bacon, diced (inexpensive bacon ends are best for this)
1 yellow onion, diced
6 to 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 stalk of celery, diced small
1 carrot, diced small
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup white Burgundy (like Chablis or Chardonnay)
¼ cup inexpensive cream Sherry
1 sprig each fresh rosemary, thyme and savory
2 fresh sage leaves
1 bay leaf
About a pound of pearl onions
About a pound of small mushrooms
Salt and fresh, coarse ground black pepper to taste
½ cup fresh chopped parsley
Cut the chicken into serving pieces. Put the flour, Herbs d’Provence, salt and pepper in a small paper bag and drop the chicken in, 2 or 3 pieces at a time, shake gently to coat with flour and set aside. Place the bacon in a heavy pot and gently sauté over a moderate heat. Do not let the bacon brown. You are just rendering the fat out of it. This will take 2 or 3 minutes. When the fat has been rendered, brown the chicken on all sides, then set aside.
Scrape up any nice brown bits that are in the pan and add the chopped onion, garlic, celery and carrot. Add a bit of olive oil if necessary, and stirring all the while, cook over a moderate heat until the vegetables are soft and just beginning to brown. Add the chicken broth and continue cooking for another 2 or 3 minutes. Remember to keep scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. That’s where the flavor is.
Add the chicken, wine, Sherry, rosemary thyme, savory, sage and bay, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the chicken is very tender but not yet falling off the bones.
While the chicken is cooking, peel the onions and trim the mushrooms. If any mushrooms are larger than 1 inch, cut them in half. When the chicken is tender, add the onions and mushrooms, raise the heat to a rapid simmer and continue to cook until the onions may be pierced with the tip of a small sharp knife. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Serve hot with buttered fresh pasta or boiled new potatoes. Accompany with a crisp toss salad and fresh baguette and you have a perfect meal, reminiscent of the beautiful French country side.