Coq au vin is a classic French dish that translates to ‘chicken in wine.’ A rustic and hearty stew, it’s great for winter. In France, there are many versions with different wines used, even Riesling, though it’s traditionally a red Burgundy that makes the wine portion. Use whichever wine you’re going to enjoy with it, since it’s a good rule to not cook with wine you wouldn’t drink. Here’s a serious recipe for coq au vin from Liam. Grab a bottle of red wine and get cooking…
1 bottle full-bodied, quality red wine
4 Sprigs fresh thyme
1 Bay leaf
2 Sticks of celery, chopped
1 Large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 Small onion, peeled and chopped
4 Cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 x 1.8kg Free-range chicken
40ml Olive oil
20 Button onions or shallots, peeled
25g Whole butter
20 Button mushrooms
100g Piece of pancetta, cut into lardons
10ml Sherry vinegar
500ml Veal stock
5g Chopped flat leaf parsley
Freshly ground pepper
Make the marinade for the chicken: Put the red wine, thyme, bay leaf, celery, carrot, onion and garlic in a heavy based sauce-pan and cook over a medium heat until it has reduced by half. Remove from the stove and cool.
Joint the chicken into 8 pieces: Pull the wing bone away from the breast and cut between the second joint leaving the first section of the wing attached to the breast. Repeat with the second wing. Pull a leg away from the body and with the tip of a knife cut through the skin to release the leg from the body. Bend the leg back until the ball of the thigh bone pops out of the hip socket. Cut between this joint and keep the tip of the knife close to the carcass to remove the oyster so as it remains attached to the leg. Repeat with the second leg. With the tip of your finger feel for the joint between the thigh and drumstick. Cut firmly down to separate the two pieces. To remove the breast, insert the tip of the knife into the neck of the chicken. Twist the knife on its point, scraping it against the wish bone on both sides. Separate the wish bone from the flesh with your fingers and cut off the bone at the base, then pull it out. Run the tip of a knife along the backbone of the chicken. Keeping the tip of the knife against the carcass follow the bone down and around the rib cage. Cut through the wing joint to release the breast from the carcass. Repeat with the other breast. Cut each breast into 2 pieces. Save the carcass, wing tips and wish bone for stock.
Place the chicken pieces and lardons in a large bowl and pour the red wine over them. Move the chicken around with a spoon so it is all evenly coated with the red wine. Cover and marinate overnight in the fridge.
Strain of the wine and set aside until ready to use. Set the lardons aside and discard the vegetables and herbs. Dry the chicken pieces on kitchen paper. Lightly season the chicken piece with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat 25ml of the olive oil in a heavy based frying pan and seal the chicken pieces on both sides until evenly browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and drain. Place the chicken pieces into a casserole dish. Add the pancetta lardons to the pan and sauté until golden brown. Remove from the pan and drain and reserve. Deglaze the pan with the sherry vinegar, brandy, port and the red wine marinade, reduce by 2/3, pour over the chicken pieces.
Melt 40g butter in a heavy-based pan and when foaming add the button onions. Cook until golden brown, season with salt and freshly ground pepper and drain into a sieve. Add them to the casserole. Sauté the button mushrooms in the remaining olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. When evenly browned, drain and reserve. Pour in the veal stock and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked through, skimming frequently to remove the impurities that float to the surface.
Remove the chicken, lardons, button onions and mushrooms from the stock and pass the stock through a fine chinois into a clean pan. Bring to the boil and reduce until the sauce is syrupy and coats the back of a spoon. When ready to serve, return the chicken pieces to the sauce add the lardons, mushrooms and chopped parsley. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. Divide the coq au vin between warm serving plates. Serve accompanied by potato puree and braised baby carrots.