It made me sing the whole way through dinner.
If you are only going to try ONE of my recipes, please let it be this one (unless you are a vegetarian or don’t eat chicken or have wine etc…). And to tell the truth, chicken isn’t even my favourite meat… It is THAT good!
The ‘secret’ of it being extraordinary is that it uses carrot puree to thicken instead of the usual flour. I learnt this trick from seeing a french chef cook on TV the other day (though he was making a beef bourguignon). Immediately I knew I had to try it. The result is just divine!
- 1Kg chicken portions (any part is fine, but I personally would not use breasts. I encourage using free range chicken because you will really taste the difference in both flavour and texture.)
- 500g pickling onions, peeled
- 400g carrots, cut into chunks
- 400g celery (leaves are good too), chopped into chunks
- 3 fat shallots, roughly chopped
- 100g bacon or specks, chopped
- a good bunch of fresh thyme (or 2 table spoons dried)
- a good bunch of fresh parsley, chopped (or 2 table spoons dried)
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 750ml full bodied red wine (you may need more. This doesn’t need to be expensive at all!)
- 1 teaspoon of salt, give or take
- pepper to taste
- 500g brown flat mushrooms (each being about 3-4cm in size is good)*
- an additional of 200g of carrots for puree
- 500g potatoes for mash (optional, to serve with coq au vin, highly recommended)
- also some good crusty bread to serve with
Don’t get too hung up with the weight of the vegetables. Basically you want each type of vegetable being roughly half of how much chicken you have.
Follow these steps:
- Find a good large casserole dish that can be used on the stove. Pour in about 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil and heat.
- Put the chicken pieces into the oil and turn to cook the outside, then take the chicken out into a bowl.
- Put the bacon bits and shallots into the pot and fry until they start to turn a little golden. Add the onions, carrots and celeries and give them a good stir to coat the oil.
- Add the chicken back to the pot along with thyme, parsley and bay leaves.
- Pour in the wine to cover all the ingredients. You may need more than 750ml but don’t be skimpy here. (Drink some while you are at it; I won’t judge ;))
- Bring to simmer and add salt and pepper. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
- Now you can either
- finish the dish off on the stove by simmering for 2 hrs, or
- put it in a slow cooker for 8 hours, or
- put it in a slow oven (130-150C) for 4 hours (check the carrots and onions are tender at the end).
- Half and hour before you want to serve, boil the additional 200g of carrots in water until soft then puree them.**
- Also boil potatoes and mash with some good butter if you want to serve it with chicken. (Highly recommended! That’s how the french chef served his.)
- Add the mushrooms to the chicken and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
- Finally add the carrot puree to your coq au vin to thicken the casserole.
- Check the seasoning again and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
- To serve, put a good sludge of your mashed potatoes in the centre of a bowl, drown it with your amazing coq au vin, and dunk a few thick slices of of crusty good bread in there.
Devour and let me know I’m not the only person who sings during dinner 😉 Oh, remember to pour yourself a good glass of a nice full bodied wine! A good bottle of Central Otago Pinot Noir would be my choice. Bon appetite!
*I prefer small-ish brown flat mushrooms but you can use other types.
** I made some chicken stock at the same time I made the coq au vin in Big Bill my clay oven, so I simply pureed the carrots from the stock. You can consider making chicken stock with your coq au vin too, especially if you are cooking your coq au vin in the oven (since the oven is hot anyway). I also roasted the potatoes in a lidded pot in the oven. Just peel the skins afterwards.