Every now and then I miss the sight of seeing my hubby cooking up something French and delicious in our kitchen, so I actually didn’t ask if he wanted to cook lunch, I told him (nicely) to cook lunch. Originally, wanting to try a new cookbook I found from Home Goods–a favorite pastime hangout of mine that was simple enough to hone into what I call my baby-steps French cooking skills. I knew the ingredients had chicken, mushrooms, wine, etc. in it but as I referred back to the cookbook, I did not realize that it was Coq au Vin I wanted to make! And so, as usual, the art of substitution came to play for some of the ingredients that we didn’t readily have available…and once again, created a dish that still retained its originality, but with some personal added touches along the way.
Serves 4, Prepared in 15-20 minutes, Cooks in 1 1/2 hours
-4 tablespoons butter (Hubby used my homemade Herbes de Provence butter )
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts (Hubby used 2 packs of organic chicken thighs and legs with bones)
-4 ounces rindless smoked bacon, cut into strips
-4 ounces pearl onions
-4 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved (Hubby used 1 pack of organic mushrooms)
-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
-2 tablespoons brandy (Hubby substituted with rum, since we didn’t have brandy ;-))
-1 cup red wine
-1 1/4 cups chicken stock
-1 bouquet garni of 2 thyme sprigs, 2 parsley sprigs and 3 bay leaves, tied with string
-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-salt and pepper
1. Melt half the butter with olive oil in a large casserole dish. Add the chicken and cook over medium heat, stirring, for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown all over. Add the bacon, onions, mushrooms and garlic.
2. Pour in the brandy and set alight with a match. When the flames die down, add the wine, stock and bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour or until the chicken breasts are cooked all the way through and the juices run clear when the tip of a knife is inserted into the thickest part of the meat. Meanwhile, make a beurre manié (a butter-and-flour paste) by mashing the remaining butter with the flour in a bowl.
3. Discard the bouquet garni. Transfer the chicken to a large plate using a slotted spoon and keep warm. Slowly stir the beurre manié into the casserole dish. Bring to a boil, return the chicken to the dish and serve. Do enjoy playing in your kitchen by learning the art of substitution!–gcc
Recipe adapted from The French Kitchen Cookbook, Everyday cuisine from the French country kitchen LOVE FOOD publishers