Coq au vin #2

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Coq au vin (chicken in wine) is one of those classic dishes that I don't make very often, because it's kind of labor intensive. I previously made it more or less using Alton Brown's recipe but this time I decided to give Michael Ruhlman's "Weekday Coq au vin" recipe from Ruhlman's Twenty a try. This version is quite a bit easier and still very delicious! And I highly recommend the book.

The recipe calls for 4 chicken legs. I'm making a half recipe (2 servings) with the legs from breaking down a 4.7 lb. whole chicken. I prefer to do it this way so I know exactly what I'm getting, and my grocery store sells natural (no antibiotic, no hormone, vegetable feed) whole chicken, but not parts.

I froze the breasts and wings and use the rest of the carcass for soup a few days ago. My two legs (drumstick and thigh) weighed 1 lb. 4.0 oz. with bone and skin.

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Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Since I was only making two legs I put the chicken, skin-side up, in a small roasting pan. I probably should have lightly oiled the pan because the chicken stuck to it.

And in the "I didn't expect that" department: When I broke down the chicken I vacuum sealed and refrigerated the legs. The vacuum sealing isn't strictly necessary but it's nice because it pretty much guarantees the chicken won't leak in my refrigerator. After a day or two in its vacuum sealed bag, pretty much all of the texture of the skin was gone and it became perfectly smooth. But the texture comes back after you finish cooking it. Weird!

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Roast for 20 minutes, remove from the oven, and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Chicken still looks oddly smooth.

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The recipe calls for slab bacon lardons or raw bacon, but all I had was my frozen pre-cooked bacon, which worked fine. I probably should have added a little oil or bacon grease to compensate for the lack of fat, but it worked okay without it. I used 3 slices of cooked bacon, 1.8 oz.. I think the slab bacon lardons would have been better, however.

Finely dice 1/2 medium yellow onion. Mince 2 cloves of garlic.

I really like Ruhlman's technique for rendering the bacon and cooking the onion and garlic. Put the bacon, onion and garlic in a pot large enough to hold the chicken in one layer. Add enough water to just cover and heat on high heat until the water evaporates.

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Lower the heat to medium-low (low on my stove) and cook until the onions begin to caramelize. This technique works really well and results in perfectly cooked onion and garlic without burning!

ate.2012.06.04.c4.jpgWhen done, add 1 1/2 tbsp. of all-purpose flour to the pan and cook for a minute or two.

While the water is boiling off, cut up 4 large white mushrooms (4.4 oz.). The recipe calls for quartering, but I cut them in half then into 4 slices because I don't like large mushroom pieces, though they do shrink so maybe quartering would be fine.

I should not have cut the carrot because it's just there for flavor and gets removed before serving. And I peeled 4 shallots. This is much less work than the pile of pearl onions in the other recipe!

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To the pot with the cooked bacon, onions and garlic, add:

Roasted chicken, skin side down
Mushrooms, carrot, shallots
2 bay leaves
8 oz. red wine
1 tbsp. honey
salt

Add water so the liquid covers 3/4 of the height of the chicken. Put in the oven and roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

I used malbec because that's what I had open, but I think burgundy or pinot noir would be more traditional. This recipe uses significantly less wine than the other recipe, which calls for 1 3/4 liters! 

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Flip the chicken over so it's skin-side up and roast for 20 more minutes, uncovered. Looks good!

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Remove the bay leaves and carrot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Because I prepared this a day ahead and was going to freeze one of the servings I rapidly chilled the pot in a sink full of cold water. I then filled each vacuum bag with one chicken leg (about 8.8 oz. cooked weight, with bone, each), two shallots and 6 oz. of the liquid, mushrooms and bacon.

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The original recipe says it can be reheated from refrigerator temperature in the oven, 30 minutes at 325°F. Since it was already in a vacuum sealed bag I reheated in the sous vide, 45 minutes at 160°F.

Serve with 1.5 oz. egg noodles.

Before serving, crisp the skin of the chicken. This can be done on the grill or broiler. I cooked it for about 5 minutes under the broiler while the noodles were cooking.

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I plated by putting the drained noodles in a large bowl, added the chicken and and added the juice, mushroom and bacon mix. I possibly should have poured the juice everywhere but the chicken, because I ended up un-crisping the chicken pouring juice over the top of the chicken. It was still delicious, regardless.

Served with a little minced flat leaf parsley as garnish.

I tweeted the picture at the top of the page to @Ruhlman and he retweeted a nice response!

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