Daily Archives: February 7, 2010

Coq au Vin (easy quick recipe; Julia would faint)

The other night, in honor of my finally getting to watch Julie and Julia, I made Coq au Vin for dinner–which is fancy-French for “Chicken in wine sauce.”  It was so remarkably easy that I’m going to record the recipe here; at least I’ll be able to find it in the future, and maybe someone else will desire to give it a try.

This, by the way, is ridiculously far from the Julia Child version, which involves browning baby onions and sauteeing mushrooms separately and using lots of butter and a dutch oven and several hours.  But it’s very tasty, and took maybe 35 minutes start to finish, which is for me a “special occasion” meal.

I also suspect that a vegperson could honestly simply omit the chicken and have a really lovely shrooms-and-onions-in-wine-gravy-over-rice-or-noodles kind of thing.

So here’s what I did:

Busy Mom’s Coq au Vin

  • (Put on your noodle or rice water…by the time that’s done, so will dinner be)
  • heat a few tbs. olive oil (or butter, if you’re Julia) in a skillet. (Cast iron is awesome for this!) (If you use non-stick pans things won’t brown as well, and you need to not heat the pan by itself without oil or stuff in it or it can give off toxic fumes.)
  • Dredge two chicken breasts in flour; brown in the hot oil for a few minutes on each side. (The pan should be pretty hot before you put them in; let them cook unmoved on each side till they begin to brown; keeps the juices in.) (Mine were organic and free range, and I swear they taste ten times better than the other kind. So worth the extra cost, safety and humane-treatment-ness aside.) If you’re in a big hurry, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces before browning.
  • When chicken is browned, remove to a plate.
  • Cut up one onion into half-rings or quarters whatever shape/size you prefer; saute in the oil
  • Throw in a few cloves of mashed or minced garlic (in my case, from a jar, because I’m lazy) and saute with onion
  • Before the garlic and onions burn, which they tend to do for me, toss in half a pound or so small button mushrooms or larger ones cut in half; I used cremini, which has a richer flavor.  (Increase shrooms if you’re skipping the meat.)
  • Splash in a little wine and scrape up any stuck chicken or onion or flour bits off the pan; this intensifies flavor and makes the pan much easier to clean.  Stir in a tablespoon or so of tomato paste (optional, or you could probably do a little pasta sauce or whatever tomato-based thing you have kicking around.  I like the tomato paste in a tube; it keeps forever and you don’t have to use it all at once like with a can.  Plus it tastes better.).
  • When shrooms are basically cooked, put chicken back into the pan, if using.  Add about half a cup of wine, a cup of broth (chicken broth if you’re using chicken; veggie or mushroom broth if you’re skipping the meat).  Add 1/2-1 tsp thyme, half a bay leaf, a little salt and pepper.
  • Cover and simmer on low heat till chicken is just cooked through (maybe another ten minutes, fifteen if your pieces are thick); then take cover off, raise heat a little, and let the liquid cook down.
  • Serve over rice or noodles, or potatoes I guess would be nice too.

This was a lovely Friday night dinner, one which merited opening a bottle of better than adequate red wine.

Bon Appetit!