If Julia Child could Master the Art of French Cooking, so can I! I have discovered, however, that you do indeed need that je ne sais quoi and savoir faire to turn this simple chicken stew into something très magnifique!
While I wasn’t particularly sure of my stock of said french terms, what I did have was a magnificent blog to trawl and a boyfriend to impress. I diligently printed out The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for Coq au Vin, only to arrive home without it. Grr. Luckily my stash of Fresh Living mags had a recipe in there somewhere. So I amalgamated the text with my rather good memory to make my own version of the stew. As long as there’s red wine and chicken, how wrong can you really go? Just remember to leave some red wine for in case it turns out kak… then you can drown your sloppy sorrows.
I’ve had some sorrows to drown lately. Danny moved out about three weeks ago.
We had a big fight and now I don’t know how to put us back together again. I don’t cook anymore. You know that I really just cook to impress him. Cooking for one is so flippin’ sad I’m scared I’ll drip snot en trane into the pot if I attempt it. So when he told me he was coming to visit on Saturday I took the opportunity to get back into the kitchen and hopefully back into his heart as well.
The Pioneer Woman serves her Coq au Vin with pasta. Traditionally I’d imagine rice to go well with chicken. I chose creamy, buttery mashed potatoes as my secret weapon in this fight for his heart.
Coq au Vin pour mon Coeur
For the chicken:
8 free range chicken pieces, or one whole free range chicken you cut up yourself using your anger and frustration
1 onion, roughly chopped
8-10 small carrots, chopped
4 rashers of bacon (preferably fatty bacon), chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup of flour
1 punnet of mushrooms, sliced in half
1 bottle of red wine – half for the pot, half for you
3cm slice of butter from a 500g brick
Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1-2 cups of chicken or beef stock
For the potatoes:
4 medium potatoes, preferably the really yellow, organic ones, peeled and chopped small
1 tbs butter
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
Pre-heat your oven to about 170ºC.
Melt half the butter in a warmed up pan. Fry the bacon to ‘render the fat’ (thanks for that term Pioneer Woman). Once the bacon is not oinking anymore, remove it from the pan and set aside.
Dust the chicken pieces with flour and fry in the pan with the butter and bacon fat until browned. Put it to one side.
Fry the onions, carrots and parsley in the pan until soft. Put these together with the chicken and bacon in a casserole dish. Add the chicken stock and wine until everything is covered and it’s decidedly purple in colour.
Put this in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Peel your potatoes and chop them up small or else they’ll take forever to cook.
Now put the rest of the butter in another pan (not the same one you used for the chicken) and fry the mushrooms. The reason for the extra dishes is that your mushrooms could end up full of black speckles from the bacon and chicken frying.
Take the casserole dish out of the oven and add the fried mushrooms. Close the dish again and pop it back in the oven for another 40 minutes.
Cook your potatoes until soft, but not too soft. I like quite stiff, chunky mash, especially with a saucy dish like this. Once done, mash with the butter, milk, salt and pepper.
Take the casserole out of the oven and remember to turn it off. Scoop some of the sauce into the mushroom pan and heat it up with a bit of Maizena mixture to thicken it.
Serve with more chopped parsley. Don’t put too much of the sauce on the mash as it might go soggy.
Then watch his heart melt…
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