Friday, April 5, 2013

Sophistication for Sophisticates

There is something about cooking coq au vin that brings out the Julia Childs in me. As I slice and dice in my sunshiny kitchen, I feel content and mellow. In my element. I am doing what I love-cooking great food for my family.

I (almost) always cook great food for my family. My kids call their favorite dishes comfort food. And, like I said before, they will one day be on the Biggest Loser having a heart to heart with Jillian Michaels about how their mom made them eat  fresh bread and cookies. And coq au vin.

Some food is comfort food. Some food is comfort food on steroids. That would be coq au vin. It is the hearty comfort of chicken stew but it sounds more sophisticated. And it tastes wonderful.

Coq Au Vin simply means a casserole of chicken cooked in red wine. It has fall-off-the-bone tender chicken with baby onions and mushrooms floating in a rich gravy of red wine and chicken broth. This recipe incorporates a mirepoix (doesn't that sound sophisticated too?!) which is a sautéed mixture of onions, carrots and garlic, to season the sauce.

My recipe is a slow cooker recipe. You can either cook it for 8-10 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.

Coq Au Vin
3 slices of bacon, cut cross wise into 3/4" pieces
1 package (8-10 ounces) mushrooms, cut in half
1 package (10 ounces) frozen pearl onions
8-10 chicken thighs, skin removed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup dry red wine
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup chicken broth

-In a big non-stick skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer to the crock pot. Retain grease. Combine mushrooms and pearl onions in the crockpot with the bacon.
-Salt and pepper chicken thighs, and fry in the skillet until browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Place on top of the vegetables in the crock pot. Start the crock pot, on high or low-whatever your time frame is.
-Discard drippings from the skillet. Over medium heat, sauté onions and carrots until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, and continue to sauté for an additional minute. Add the wine, bay leaf, and tomato paste. Stir until the mixture boils and the tomato paste dissolves. Pour wine mixture and the chicken broth over the chicken pieces. Cook for 4 hours on high of 8 hours on low.
-To serve, discard the bay leaf. Serve in shallow bowls, with crusty french bread and a green salad. Or serve on plates with couscous to stretch the goodness.

What is your favorite sophisticated recipe? Share in the comments.