Coq au vin

coqauvin8.jpgChicken, marinated in red wine overnight, then slow cooked, with bacon lardons, onions, garlic, thyme, and mushrooms. How can you go wrong?

I pretty much just used Alton Brown's recipe, which is excellent.

Note: this recipe takes 2 days because of the marinating in wine overnight part. Plus, it's kind of ridiculously labor intensive. A 20 minute meal this is not, but it's really delicious!

Pictured above could be a serving for one, though I only ate half of it. And I clearly need a deeper bowl/plate for this dish.

Here are some of the preparation photos. The bacon lardons, cut from a 6 oz. piece of Vermont Smoke and Cure slab bacon:

coqauvin1.jpg(You can click on any picture to see a larger version of it.)

Note: Use a bigger pan than this. The recipe says use a 12" pan. That's a 10" pan above. I don't have a 12", only a 10" and a 15" and the 15" seemed like overkill. I was wrong. It's not necessary at this stage, but it will be later. Bigger is better.

I have a new respect for any chef that puts pearl onions in a dish in a restaurant. You know each one of these needs to be peeled, like a big onion, but there are sooo many of them! Browning on rendered bacon fat:

coqauvin2.jpgMushrooms, in bacon fat. And butter.

coqauvin3.jpg
Browning the chicken. This is why you need a big pan! I normally try to use local, free range, antibiotic-free chickens but due to a small mishap I ended up getting it at my regular supermarket instead. How can 2.3 pounds, 8 chicken thighs, only cost $ 3.66?

The 6 oz. of bacon in this dish cost more than the chicken!

coqauvin4.jpgThis recipe calls for wine. A lot of wine. 1 1/2 liters. It's traditionally Burgundy in France, but around here Burgundy comes in only two varieties: really bad jug wine and really expensive. Fortunately pinot noir is the same grape, so that will do just fine.

There's an old saying, "Don't cook with wine you wouldn't drink." Well I'm not sure I'd voluntarily drink the big bottle o' wine that I bought for this dish, but I suppose I could drink it if desperate enough. That will have to do.

coqauvin5.jpgAfter making all of those ingredients you basically fill up a big pot with the chicken, onion, carrot, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, chicken stock, and lots of wine and let it marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

coqauvin6.jpgThis recipe is very labor intensive so I divided it into 4 servings for freezing. I eat really small servings of food, so that's 8 of my servings, but in any case it's quite a bit of food and well worth the effort for a very delicious chicken dish. Here are the vacuum bags awaiting chilling before vacuum sealing then freezing.

coqauvin7.jpgI served this with Lemelson Vineyards pinot noir, Willamette Valley (Washington), 2007. It's above my normal price point ($ 36 per bottle, but it was on sale for less), but I've had it before. I'd say it's the best pinor noir I've ever had. There is really no comparison with the one I cooked with, though that bottle was twice the size and it cost $ 12, so that might be part of the problem right there...

coqauvin9.jpg