As you’ve all probably noticed, there’s been a sharp increase in the number of savoury recipes that are being published. I’ve been a little short on time these days, trying to juggle full-time work with part-time study, gym, blogging and somewhat maintain a shred of my social life, and so the little cooking I do get around to doing nowadays is predominantly for home meals.
Thinking about what your next meal is going to be can be quite exhausting, I will admit. While mum was home I had the freedom to make as many sweets as I like, but as she’s away and I’m attempting to ensure that The Sister and I eat a balanced, healthy diet, I haven’t realised how much of a struggle finding inspiration can be at times.
I was inspired to make this dish after a colleague at work brought in leftovers of the Coq Au Vin his mum had made for dinner the night before, and upon smelling its gorgeous, melting aroma from the microwave on the other side of the office, I knew I had to try making this myself.
I’m relatively new to cooking with wine. While I’ve added dashes of white to seafood and prawns, or mirin and sake when making Japanese-style marinades, cooking with an amount of wine more than two tablespoons worth is quite foreign to me. Especially with me not being a red wine drinker – and Coq Au Vin requires red wine. I went to a bottle shop when I was getting the groceries for this dish and asked to be recommended a red for cooking, and was met with a recoil of disgust accompanied with ‘A red wine for cooking?’
Eventually I left the bottle shop with a bottle of merlot that cost me the princely sum of $10, which I was pretty happy with. Time to get down to work! I found this recipe from taste.com.au and it was really quite easy if you know your basic way around the kitchen. It produced a beautiful, warm dish to dig into during the winter months infused with mouth-watering aromas that can often only be achieved through slow-cooking techniques and it made the kitchen smell absolutely wonderful.
I’ve replaced the eight chicken drumsticks with half a chicken instead as I prefer breast meat, but if you do like drumsticks they will produce better results. The wings are also quite good for flavour.
You will need:
- 2 tablespoons plain flour;
- Half a chicken;
- 2 tablespoons olive oil;
- 4 pieces rindless middle bacon rashers, cut into 4cm pieces;
- 4 large eschalots, peeled and chopped;
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped;
- 375ml (1 + 1/2C) red wine (such as merlot);
- 375ml (1 + 1/2C) chicken stock;
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme;
- 3 dried bay leaves;
- 400g button mushrooms;
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste;
- fresh thyme, extra, to serve;
- potato mash to serve and blanched broccolini to serve.
Dry the skin of the half chicken and chop it into about eight even pieces or so. You can ask your butcher to do this, or as I said previously, use drumsticks instead. I put the chopping board on the ground so I wouldn’t damage the tabletop and had to quickly whip it up as the cat went mental when I put the raw chicken on the ground!
Place the flour in a plastic bag and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and shake until lightly coated.
Heat half the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken and cook, turning, for five minutes or until brown. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken.
Add the bacon, eschalots and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for five minutes until the eschalots are golden. Add the wine, stock, thyme and bay leaves and bring the pot to the boil.
Add the chicken and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 40 minutes or until tender.
Transfer the chicken back to the plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the mushrooms and tomato paste to the wine mixture.
Increase heat to medium-high and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Return chicken to the pan and stir to combine.
And just in case you don’t know how to make a basic mash….
You will need:
- Two washed Sebago potatoes, peeled, chopped into 3cm chunks;
- 20g butter;
- 30ml milk.
Cover the potato with cold water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
Cook for about 20 minutes until tender. Test with a skewer and they are done when they slide off very easily. Remove from heat, drain and pass through a potato ricer.
Add the butter and the milk, and whip vigorously together until fluffy. Season generously with salt and pepper. If you have any truffle oil it goes wonderfully with it.
Serve the mash with blanched broccolini (or other freshly cooked greens) and the Coq Au Vin, topped with a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme.
I was quite ecstatic over how amazing it tasted and looked. This definitely is going to become one of my go-to favourite recipes. And for those afraid of how alcoholic food can taste when cooking with large amounts of wine – I can tell you that the long cooking time ‘cooked-off’ the alcohol and all that remains is the barest aroma of the fruity red. The wine gives the sauce a wonderful body and flavour that cannot be substituted.
And that braised chicken. Oh. My.
Enjoy the rest of your week, all! I’ll see you at the end of the week where I review Westfield Sydney’s Jones the Grocer and their legendary wagyu burger xx