Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Coq Au Vin

Originally Posted on 01/23/07
Today Justyn was feeling like he was going through a major rut, so in order to make him feel better, I decided to make Coq Au Vin. This is a dish that I had been wanting to make for a while, but for whatever reason, I just didn't get around to it. I asked Angel if she knew how to make it, but she said her mom did. So in the last 15 minutes of the work day, I decided to look up some recipes and found one on allrecipes.com. I'll post the recipe at the bottom of the page in case any of you are interested.
For some reason I had been inspired by amateurgourmet.com to cook something this week. His blog is much more along than mine, filled with a lot of delicious goodies that I would never dare to try. Well... maybe someday. I would just like to dedicate this post to him. You rock Adam!! I hope you see this!

First, I made my mise en place by chopping up an onion, carrot, 4-5 garlic cloves (reserved one whole clove for toast), and rosemary. I put these all in a bowl since they would all go into the pot at the same time per the directions. The mushrooms came pre-cleaned and sliced so that made things easier.

Then I washed the chicken and patted it dry (to ensure carmelization - a tip from AB's Good Eats). I also chopped up some peppered bacon to make lardons.

I heated up a big pot and added the bacon. I stirred it around for a bit and it looked like it was sticking too much to the pot so I added some olive oil. That helped, and soon the bacon was crispy. I took them out and put them on a paper towel for later use.

I dredged the dried chicken thighs in a mixture of flour, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper in a ziplock bag. I shook off the excess with some tongs and added them into the bacon fat.

While I was waiting for the chicken to brown up on both sides, I opened up the wine. Mmm.. OK, here's where you might think I'm weird. I recently discovered Turning Leaf Reserve Pinot Noir (2005). I absolutely love this wine. You might say that it's totally wrong to love a main stream wine, don't. Give it a try if you like Pinots. It's really good. At least in my opinion.. Given the fact that I liked Turning Leaf, Justyn grabbed a bottle of their Merlot (also 2005 reserve). I used this to deglaze the pan.

Wait.. rewind a bit. When the chicken was done browning on both sides, I took them out and added the veggies, garlic & rosemary to saute a bit. There was a lot of brown bitties on the bottom of the pot which made me happy. I knew those were gonna add tons of flavor to the Coq Au Vin. Once they sauteed for about 7 minutes, I added the chicken back to the pot and THEN I added the wine.

All the steam makes it look like it's burning huh? No worries, once I added the wine and scraped the bottom, things were looking good. In fact the smell drew Justyn out of the office from his gaming, to take a good whiff. The recipe called for some whole peeled canned tomatoes. As soon as I opened the can, I thought the recipe needed tweaking. Why add whole tomatoes versus crushed? I heard somewhere on Food Network, that whole canned tomatoes tasted better than crushed. Oh well... Into the pot they went. I stirred the mixture with a wooden spoon and scraped up all the brown stuff on the bottom. I let it come to a boil and then dropped the heat to simmer (4 on my stove). I covered the pot and set the microwave timer to 25 minutes.
Shit... I made an uh-oh here. I totally forgot about the mushrooms!! No worries, I'll just add them and stir it around.

I'm not sure if you can read the recipe, but notice I crossed out the sausage part. I prefer bacon... so yeah. It also called for dried rosemary, but I decided to use fresh.
While the chicken cooked, I sliced some bread with my new Shun bread knife. I was too lazy to break out the cutting board again (since I just washed it), so I just cut it on the recipe paper. I know... totally stupid, but I'm lazy.

I put the sliced crusty bread on a baking sheet lined with foil (easy cleanup!) and sprinkled it with salt, pepper & olive oil.

While the bread was toasting, I had some time to try the wine (more like, drink a glass). The timer counted down to the last two minutes and I got impatient and opened the pot.

Like my dirty stove? Yeah, it's a piece of crap. I can't wait till we get a new one. When I lifted the lid, I saw that the mixture was on a full boil! Oh no!!! I immediately dropped the heat to 2. "Stupid stove", I thought as I stirred the bottom of the pot to scrap up the sticky parts. The recipe tells me I have to re-season, but I tasted it and no more salt and pepper was needed. So I let it simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes. I took the toast out after a couple minutes of it being in the oven and rubbed it with the reserved garlic.

As I was waiting, I went into the office to bug Justyn about how our blue Ikea plates were insufficient to make a nice presentation. He reminded me that we had some cute Japanese rectangle plates that his mom gave us. I was reluctant, but took one out anyway.

The timer finally beeped and I was ready to plate. Here's the best picture we got from our crappy camera. The stupid flash wouldn't turn off, so it looks waaay bright.

Here's the verdict.

From a scale of 1-10, Justyn gave the flavor an 8. I beamed.
This was a first time dealio and I was very happy about the way it turned out. I hope the Amateur Gourmet tries this recipe out and posts it on his site.

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