I have lived in Seattle off and on for the past 15 years, but this winter has really gotten to me. I’m not sure if it was the fact that my doctor told me I was seriously Vitamin D deficient or if the taste of sunshine I got in California during my family vacation to Disneyland in January simply made me acutely aware of just how much I missed the sun. Either way, I really, really miss it. And I know Punxsutawney Phil claims that spring is just around the corner, but I’m not totally convinced. So I’ve decided to try to embrace the unyielding grey Seattleness and indulge in a few dishes that I won’t be able to make in the summer simply because my air conditioning-free apartment is not the place for adventures with my oven.
One of my favorite comfort foods is coq au vin. Don’t let the name or the fact that it’s French fool you into believing that it’s something fancy and difficult to make. It’s not. It’s a stew of chicken, mushrooms, onions, and red wine (vin). And it is damn good. Depending on how long your commute is or what time you’re comfortable with eating dinner, the adapted recipe below could work as a weeknight meal. Or, if you have some extra time on a Sunday for some serious mise-en-place, try the full recipe from Julia Child.
While I countdown the days until I might catch a glimpse of that giant yellow orb in the sky once more, I’ll be devouring a few servings of this hearty French classic. Because if I can’t get warmth from outside, I’ll do a little warming from within.
Coq Au Vin
- 4 slices thick cut bacon
- 3 lbs chicken breasts and legs, skin on (two breasts and two drumsticks)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 10 oz sliced mushrooms
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp salt (or, to taste)
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Fry the bacon over medium heat in a dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot. After it’s fried, remove the bacon and place on paper towels to drain. Once cool, chop bacon and set aside. Keep the bacon grease in the pot.
- Turn heat to high and place chicken, skin-side down in the pot. Sear chicken until golden brown on both sides, about eight minutes. Then, add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and rosemary. Continue sautéing until the onions begin to soften, about six minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and red wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, carefully remove the chicken from the pot and place in an oven-safe dish. Keep chicken warm in the oven while you work on the sauce.
- Stir the flour and butter (butter should melt instantly in the pot) into the red wine sauce. Bring back up to a boil and stir constantly—-sauce should be begin to thicken. Add mushrooms, chopped bacon, salt and pepper and continue cooking for 10-12 minutes. Keep in mind that the sauce will also thicken up a bit when it cools.
- Place chicken back in sauce and serve with roasted potatoes, noodles or a big green salad.
Yield: 4 servings