First of all, I need to apologize: I’ve been neglecting this site, and I’m very, very sorry for that! And yet once again, I really do have a good excuse. We have had sickness galore running through our house, and I haven’t been up to much beyond calling for takeout as I chug my nighttime shot of Benylin. First we had an eye infection brought home from daycare. It went around our house twice. Couple that with two back-to-back ear infections and teething in a 15-month-old. And then top it all off by me catching the mother of all colds, which is still going strong after two weeks. There are moments when I wanted to curl up and cry myself to sleep. Oh wait, I did that – sometime after the 3rd round of disinfecting toys and Lysol-wiping the entire house.
But, enough about all that. We are finally on the mend. I am wearing makeup for the first time in two weeks, and we’re all starting to feel (and in my case ‘look’) somewhat human again.
It’s time to get back to cooking!
I think it is impossible to be of French descent and not have tried Coq au Vin. And if you are and haven’t – shame on you! But it’s okay, I’ll forgive you if you give it a try now.
French cuisine is (for obvious reasons) one of my favorites. Since wine is always a big factor, along with fresh baked bread, cream, and all sorts of decadence…is it any wonder? Baguette, steak frites, foie gras, crème brûlée, profiteroles, tarte tatin, mmm….I’m drooling!
Coq au vin is another of the above-mentioned classic French dishes. It’s a braise of chicken cooked in red wine (duh), with mushrooms, onions, and garlic. My version includes brandy, which you ignite, because of course: the more alcohol the better!
The pearl onions add so much to this dish – don’t even think about leaving them out. Unless you don’t like onions. But in that case…you probably shouldn’t make this dish. The easiest way to deal with them is to blanch them and quickly plunge them into an ice bath. That way it only takes a couple minutes to peel them.
Yield: 4 servings
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- pinch of mace
- 1.5 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs (approx. 8)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup brandy
- 1 cup pearl onions
- ½ lb mushrooms, halved
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp dried marjoram
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- salt & pepper to taste
- Cut root ends off of pearl onions. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add pearl onions and blanch for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain and instantly plunge pearl onions into an ice bath (a bowl filled with cold water and ice cubes). Squeeze the ends of the pearl onions, and they should slip right out of the skin. Trim ends and set aside.
- Mix flour, paprika, salt and mace in a plastic bag. Add chicken and shake to coat.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Turn off heat. Add brandy and ignite. Once flames die out, remove chicken and set aside.
- Re-heat skillet to medium heat. Add pearl onions and mushrooms to pan, fry until browned, about 5 mins. Remove and set aside.
- Increase skillet heat to medium-high. Add chopped onions and garlic; sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low. Return chicken, mushrooms, and pearl onions to skillet. Cover and simmer 25 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender.