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Chicken Braised in Red Wine (Coq au Vin)

Serves: Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) stewing hen or roasting chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces
  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch dice
  • Vegetable or canola oil, as needed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 large celery ribs, trimmed and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) medium to full-bodied dry red wine, such as Beaujolais
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns
  • 18 to 24 pearl onions
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 pound crimini or button mushrooms, stems trimmed, quartered
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, for garnish


Procedures:

Literally translating to “rooster in wine,” coq au vin developed on the farms of France as a means of making a flavorful meal from older poultry. Slowly braising the bird in red wine makes it tender and delicious. While Burgundy wine is traditional here, use a fruit-forward Syrah for a taste of the Rhône Valley.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the bottom third. Place bacon in a large Dutch oven on the stovetop and heat over moderate heat. Cook bacon until crispy and fat has rendered, about 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate, leaving the fat in the Dutch oven.

Season the chicken pieces generously on all sides with salt and pepper. Using tongs, place chicken in the Dutch oven and cook to a deep brown on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes, working in batches as needed. Transfer chicken to a rimmed baking sheet.

Add onion, carrot, celery and leek to Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic and cook, stirring often, until tomato paste turns a deep red (another 1 to 2 minutes). Sprinkle flour over vegetable mixture and cook, stirring to incorporate, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add wine to Dutch oven and, using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits. Cook until wine mixture begins to thicken, about 4 to 5 minutes. Return chicken to Dutch oven along with any juices from the baking sheet and add enough stock to barely cover the chicken. Add thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns, stirring to combine. Cover the Dutch oven and place in the preheated oven. Cook the chicken until fork-tender and an inserted instant read thermometer registers at least 165 degrees, about 50 to 60 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, boil the pearl onions in rapidly boiling salted water until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and let cool, then trim ends with a paring knife and peel. Set aside.

In a large roasting pan, place butter and oil. Add onions and mushrooms and stir to combine. Drizzle with sherry vinegar and season liberally with salt and pepper. Place roasting pan in oven with the Dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions and mushrooms turn golden brown and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove roasting pan from oven and place onions and mushrooms in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Remove Dutch oven from oven and, using tongs, carefully transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a large saucepan, pressing solids with a wooden spoon to release as much liquid as possible. Place saucepan over high heat and cook the liquid until reduced and thickened, about 10 to 12 minutes, skimming the surface with a heatproof ladle to remove any excess fat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

To serve: Place one piece of chicken in 8 individual shallow serving bowls and ladle sauce over each. Garnish with pearl onions and mushrooms, and sprinkle with reserved bacon pieces and thyme leaves. Serve immediately.

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchen

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