La Cage Aux Folles: Coq Au Vin
This delicious dish takes me back to Paris. It is essentially a one-pot-dish that can be cooked in about an hour.
- 1/4 lb. Bacon
- 2T olive oil
- 1 bag fresh pearl onions or one bag frozen pear onions
- 2 large cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Chicken cut in 8 pieces or 4 split Chicken Breasts
- 2 Cups Red Wine
- 2 Cups Chicken Stock
- 10 oz. Fresh Mushrooms
- 2 - 3 T Wondra Flour
Let's start by preparing the pearl onions. These come frozen or fresh, in a bag. I like the fresh ones, but they significantly add to the prep time for coq au vin. If you're using frozen onions, you can skip the next few steps, and just add the frozen onions to the chicken where indicated. First, boil water in a pan. When it comes to a boil add the whole bag of onions and cook for just 3 minutes.
Pour out the hot water and plunge the onions into cold water under the tap.
Their outer skin will crinkle as they cool.
Using a knife or kitchen scissor, cut off the root end of the onion. Squeeze the onion at the other end and the beautiful pear will pop out. Discard the skin.
Reserve the pearls in a bowl. Refrigerate.
Put 2 T olive oil in a hot frying pan. Add the sliced bacon. Reduce heat to medium, siring the bacon in the oil. When the bacon is well cooked remove it to a separate small bowl.
Add the chicken to the pan. Here I know my guests. They don't like dark meat, so I'm using split chicken breasts. Sometimes I'll cut the breasts in half, again, to make smaller portions and nicer presentation.
Turn the chicken as you cook over a medium heat to brown the chicken on all sides.
Raise the heat to high, add 1/3 cup of cognac to the pan and immediately ignite it with a match. Reduce heat to medium. (Be sure to be careful when you light the cognac. It is REALLY going to flame up. Stand back or you'll singe your eyebrows, hair, or worse. I generally let my cognac flame until it goes out on its own, but if things get out of control, you can cover the pot with a lid to smother the flame.
When the flame is down, add the onions. Keep the heat on medium.
Add the 2 cloves of chopped garlic.
Sprinkle a T of Wondra flour over the chicken and onions. As well as giving texture to the food, the flour also is a thickener to sauce. If you're counting carbs you can omit the flour, but you won't get the same rich gravy.
You are aiming for a more or less even distribution of flour. Turn the chicken to coat the top and bottom side.
Cook for a bit so that the flour gets absorbed.
Add 2 cups of red wine.
Add 2 cups of beef broth, or enough to just about cover the chicken.
Add 1 T of tomato paste and stir.
Add a bay leaf. Let the chicken cook for about 40 minutes. Now, also add: the reserved bacon, the sliced mushrooms.
We want to get our sauce down to a nice thickness. Let's use a slotted spoon to put the chicken on a plate with the veggies.
Raise the heat under the sauce and stir continually until it thickens to the desired consistency. It should be able to coat the spoon, but we don't want a heavy syrup.
Spoon a bit of the sauce over the chicken and veggies and put the rest in a gravy bowl or small pitcher for the table. Everyone gets a piece of chicken, mushrooms and onions. It is delicious served over rice or egg noodles. Here, I'm serving it low-carb style with Brussels sprouts.
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