Coq Au Vin: One-Upping Leftovers Night
February 22, 2008
When I originally proclaimed Wednesday night to be “leftovers night!” I feared that Kevin would revolt. We had a lot of Leftovers Nights when I was growing up and they were usually met with reactions that ranged from mild groans of dissatisfaction to downright tantrums of refusal (those were the nights that Ali or I (why couldn’t we ever coordinate, I wonder, because it would have been a lot more fun together) would remain at the table until we ate two/three/four more bites. We’d be there for hours, in some cases. Funny, I have absolutely no recollection of how those stand-offs resolved themselves. Did I really eat the bites? Did my mom cave? I’ll have to ask her.
Anyway, back in 2008, it turned out that Kevin was thrilled with the idea. He was delighted to heap a stack of leftover pizza slices next to a dollop of refrigerated-for-two-days risotto. He was more than happy to nestle in a few forkfuls of Monday’s chicken cacciatore (the clear winner among the leftovers, by the way). And, quite expectedly, he had no problem capping the whole thing off with a remaining wedge of chocolate almond torte.
(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)
Before I knew that leftovers night would be such a hit, though, I figured I better follow it up with something especially special the next night. So, while Kevin was probably still fondly reminiscing about leftovers night, I made a gorgeous, stewy pot of Ina Garten’s coq au vin (a recipe I’d been eying for a while and knew I had to make after seeing it here).
This recipe is very similar to The Barefoot’s beef bourguignon recipe, in terms of method (brown some bacon; sear the meat; saute the vegetables; pour in a half-bottle of wine; simmer away with a bundle of herbs; slide in some frozen pearl onions and sauteed mushrooms at the last minute … as Ina would say, “How bad can that be?”) and ingredients (merely swap beef tenderloin out for chicken pieces). Unsuprisingly, the result is very similar too. The coq au vin was equally earthy, tender and comforting, just not quite as rich as the beef bourguignon. Last night also happened to be Family Dinner, so I sent the leftovers home with Ali. Too bad for Kevin, because now he’ll have to wait a while for the next Leftovers Night(!).
Coq Au Vin
Ina Garten via Food Network
2 tablespoons good olive oil*
4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced*
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths**
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided*
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.
Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.
Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.
* I got away with using, at most, half the amount of oil, bacon and butter listed in the recipe.
** I used boneless/skinless chicken breasts and thighs, cut in large chunks.