Coq Au Vin – Adapted from the New York Times (Melissa Clark)
1.5kg chicken legs and thighs
Salt & Pepper
750ml red wine (any half decent wine will do, save the good stuff for drinking!)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
100g lardons, pancetta or bacon, diced (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1 large onion, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 punnet white or brown mushrooms, halved if large, and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brandy
3 tablespoons butter
200g peeled pearl onions (about 12 to 15 onions)
¼ cup chopped parsley, for serving
- Season chicken well with salt & pepper. In a large bowl, combine chicken, wine, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or, even better, overnight.
- In a large Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pot with a tightfitting lid, cook lardons over medium-low heat until fat has rendered, and lardons are golden and crisp, Remove, leaving rendered fat in pot.
- Remove chicken from wine, reserving the marinade. Pat chicken pieces with paper towels until very dry. Working in batches if necessary, add chicken in a single layer and cook until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. (Add oil if the pot looks a little dry.) Transfer chicken to a plate as it browns.
- Add diced onion, carrot, half the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook until vegetables are lightly browned, about 8 minutes, stirring up any brown bits from the pot.
- Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, then stir in flour and cook for another minute. Remove from heat, push vegetables to one side of pot, pour brandy into empty side, and ignite with a match. (If you’re too nervous to ignite it, just cook brandy down for 1 minute.) Once the flame dies down, add reserved marinade, bring to a rolling boil, and reduce for around 10 mins.
- Add chicken, any accumulated juices and half the cooked lardons to the pot. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour – you can also put in a pre-heated oven at 180*C for 1 hour instead.
- Meanwhile, slowly sauté onions in butter with a pinch of sugar for around 15 minutes until tender. Turn up the heat, add remaining mushrooms, and sauté until browned and cooked.
- When ready to serve, add pearl onions and mushrooms to the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes to reduce liquid. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining half of the cooked lardons to finish. Enjoy with mashed potatoes, a crisp salad and plenty of (good) wine!