I have a few recipes coming up that I'm amazed I haven't included before now. Of course there are plenty of reasons why they haven't yet made their appearance in the spotlight, but the truth of the matter is that these are some of my favourite recipes of all time and are regularly made during the cold winter months. This meal is one of them. Such a favourite in fact that the hot dish we had at our wedding buffet was Coq au Vin (which I thankfully managed to enjoy without spilling anything on my dress – I did however give the Beetroot & Goats Cheese Salad a miss!). For me one of my absolutely favourite comfort meals to enjoy is this Coq-au-vin teamed not with mashed or boiled potatoes as many people enjoy but with rich and creamy Dauphinoise Potatoes. There is something about the combination of the wine sauce from the Coq au Vin cutting through the creaminess of the potatoes that make it a winning match. This is luxurious yet simple food at its absolute finest and makes a stunning dinner party meal, or for that matter (as we just had) a perfect meal for a cozy Saturday night in.
Coq au VinI've eaten, enjoyed and made Coq au Vin for many years trying various different methods (including marinating the chicken for 24 hours etc etc) but I have to say this is now the way I always make it and perfectly honestly love the most! It is a simplified version that's easy to make at home but still has that delicious, comforting flavour that you can't stop eating. For ease I use chicken thighs rather than a whole chicken that has been cut up into portions, however you use what you prefer.
The initial stages of crisping the bacon, sauteing the vegetables and browning the chicken may seem like a bit of work but it really is worth it for the final flavour so just allow yourself some time and enjoyment in the kitchen, because once it's in the oven your work is done!!
I like to serve my Coq Au Vin with Dauphinoise Potatoes and green beans but you could serve it with lots of crusty bread instead.
Serves 4-6 (depending how hungry you are!)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
4 rashers of streaky bacon, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stick of celery, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
10 large shallots (approx), peeled & cut in half
10-12 Chicken thighs (you could use less if they are large)
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp brandy
350ml Red wine
500ml Chicken Stock
2 bay leaves (fresh if possible)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
300g/ 10oz (approx.) of mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C.
In a large casserole pan heat 1 tbsp of the oil the add the diced bacon pieces and cook until they are just starting to turn crispy. If there is a lot of fat in the pan remove it so that you still have about 1 tbsp then add the onion and celery and cook for roughly 7 minutes until they have softened. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute then remove everything from the pan and set aside. Add the extra tablespoon of oil to the pan along with 1 tbsp of butter then over a medium-high heat add the shallots and cook for roughly 6 minutes until they are caramelized a golden brown on the outside and starting to soften. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to the bacon and onion mix.
While the shallots are caramelizing put half of the chicken thighs into a large freezer or sandwich bag and sprinkle over a tablespoon of flour and a pinch of salt and pepper. Shake well so all the chicken is evenly coated with a light dusting of flour. Add the last remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan then add the chicken in batches. While the first batch of chicken is browning add the remaining chicken thighs to the freezer bag and coat with the rest of the flour and some salt and pepper. Cook the remaining chicken until the skin is crispy and golden then remove from the pan. Carefully remove all of the fat and oil from the pan as there will be a lot from the chicken.
Deglaze the bottom of the pan with the brandy scraping up all the yummy brown goodness before the brandy reduces completely. Add the vegetables and the chicken back to the pan then pour over the wine and stock along with the bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer then cover with a lid and put in the oven for roughly 2 hours.
Towards the end of the cooking time heat a frying pan until hot then add half a tablespoon of butter and half of the oil. Saute the mushrooms in batches so that they aren't over crowded in the pan, until golden brown, using the rest of the butter and oil as needed. Once they are all sauteed remove and set aside.
Once the Coq Au Vin has had almost 2 hours in the oven taste to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary then add the sauteed mushrooms. Return the casserole back to the oven for a further 15 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle over the parsley, serve and enjoy with a nice glass of wine!
30g/ 1oz butter
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
200ml double or whipping cream
Salt & pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C.
Using ½ of the butter generously grease a gratin dish or a shallow casserole dish. Peel the potatoes then slice into approximately ¼ inch slices – if you have one, a mandolin makes light work of this, but if not just use a sharp nice and try and keep all the slices the same.
Layer the potatoes in the dish until you have used them all. In a jug mix together the cream and milk and add the crushed garlic and the leaves from 3 of the thyme sprigs. Season well with salt and pepper and mix well before pouring over the potatoes. Put the potatoes on a baking tray then dot over the remaining butter and the last 3 sprigs of thyme. Bake in the oven for roughly 1 hour 15 minutes or until golden brown on top and tender potatoes underneath. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.