Classic Coq au Vin

½ C (4 oz) salt pork
3# chicken parts, to include breast, thighs, drumsticks, bone-in on all of them
1 T olive or good cooking oil
1/3 C Cognac or brandy
2 cloves garlic minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 t thyme
½ C fresh or canned tomatoes, diced
2 C Zinfandel or other young red wine
1 C chicken stock; more as needed
1½ T butter
1½ T flour
20 small pearl onions, peeled and sauteed until golden
3 C fresh mushrooms, trimmed, quartered or sliced and sauteed until golden
Chopped parsley

Cut salt pork into lardons 1×1/4 inches. Bring a small pan of water to a boil and
drop lardons in to blanch 2 minutes. Remove and dry on paper towels. Heat a
large pan and add lardons; saute to render the fat, adding olive or cooking oil as
needed. Discard cooked salt pork. Pat chicken pieces dry, season with salt and
pepper and add to hot oil in pan. Brown thoroughly on all sides, adding butter
or oil if needed. When chicken pieces are well-browned, turn off heat. Pour in
brandy, letting it heat briefly; ignite with a match and swirl pan to burn off the
alcohol, about 20 seconds. Turn heat back on low, add garlic and herbs, mix well
and cook gently about five minutes. Add wine and stock. Cover pan tightly and
simmer very gently 30 minutes, until chicken is tender when pressed. Remove
chicken to a side dish and degrease the sauce, using a degreaser or by refrigerating it for a few hours or overnight and removing the solidified oil.

Heat the degreased sauce and taste for seasoning; bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. In a small bowl, combine the flour and butter to make a beurre manie. Using a whisk and with rapid motion, whisk into the sauce. Stir gently until the sauce thickens, adding stock as needed. Add onions and mushrooms and pour over hot chicken. Garnish with parsley.

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