Today is my anniversary and we love to celebrate over a special dinner at a restaurant. My husband suggested French and I suggested (or strongly persuaded), Japanese.
Therefore, a new Japanese restaurant that opened recently in the hip area of Yaletown became the winning choice. I did however want to make my husband a french dish which he loves; Coq au vin…so both of us would be truly happy on our anniversary weekend.
Coq au vin, (in French translates to “rooster with wine”) is as rustic as it gets. There are many variations of the recipe since it was documented in the early 20th century. Obviously, the most important ingredients are the ‘Capon’ (rooster meat) or chicken and the wine. You can use red or white wine, I chose red!
It is always essential to use top quality produce and for this dish I bought a local BC organic farm chicken and a beautiful red wine from the Okanagan valley, BC.
What’s special about this Coq au vin you may ask? Well, it’s made with love of course…and the aromatics of the dish are so seductive and ambrosial.
So here it is, the recipe I prefer to cook. It also freezes especially well too.
Coq au vin with buttery mash (Serves 4)
2 Tablespoons plain flour
10 chicken drumsticks (free-range organic)
4 Tablespoons olive oil
6 naturally smoked middle rindless bacon rashers (as much fat removed off side and ends as possible), cut into 4cm pieces.
10 eschalots (pearl onions), peeled
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/4 cups of red wine (I used an Okanagan Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
8 sprigs fresh thyme and more for garnish
3 dried bay leaves
500g button mushrooms
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup brandy
2kg brushed potatoes, peeled and quartered to the same size
4 Tablespoons extra virgin cold pressed olive oil
Salt to season
1/4 – 1/2 cup of milk if you like a more creamy texture
1) Place the flour in a plastic bag. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and shake until lightly coated.
2) Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a deep heavy pot over a medium heat. In batches cook the chicken, turning for five minutes or until a golden brown colour. Transfer to a plate.
3) Add the eschalots, bacon and garlic to the pot and cook, tossing, for five minutes or so until the eschalots are a golden colour. Add the wine, stock, thyme and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Add the chicken and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered for 35 minutes or until tender.
4) Transfer chicken to a plate. Add mushrooms and tomato paste to the remaining stock mixture. Increase the heat to a medium-high and simmer uncovered, for 15 minutes or until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper and add brandy. Return chicken to the pan and stir to combine on a low heat for five to ten minutes.
5) Meanwhile, to make the mash, add potato to cold water in a saucepan and bring to boil cooking for approximately 25 minutes or until tender. Drain. Add the butter to the pan and return the potatoes to the pan and use a potato masher until smooth. Add the oil and milk while mashing and season with salt and pepper.
6) Arrange coq au vin on plate with mash and some extra thyme to serve. Voila!