Stewed Chicken (Coq au Vin)
This dish was most likely created years ago by some farmer’s wife as a way to tenderize an old laying hen or rooster. The chicken pieces are browned and slowly braised in red wine until the meat is falling off the bone. The cooking liquid is then reduced and thickened to make a flavorful sauce with pieces of bacon, pearl onions, and sliced mushrooms. Serve with lots of crusty bread.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: Approximately 1 hour
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
Salt and pepper
3-pound frying chicken, cut into serving pieces
12 pearl onions, peeled
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups dry red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1-1⁄2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in butter
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook just until the fat is rendered, but do not cook until crisp. Remove to a plate.
Generously salt and pepper the chicken pieces. Brown in the hot fat in two batches.
Place all the cooked chicken and bacon in the pot.
Add the onions, garlic, and thyme and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine, broth, and tomato paste.
Bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove any cooked-on particles. Add the bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.
Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Spoon off any fat from the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to approximately 2 cups. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir into the sauce and cook until thickened.
Return the chicken to the pot along with the mushrooms. Stir in the parsley.