When we were in New York over Christmas, we absolutely had to stop at Les Halles for an early dinner. Both Tom and I are huge Bourdain fans and we were dying to see where it all started, not to mention eat the food that we’d heard so many things about. The place was slightly underwhelming in many ways – it was small, incredibly dark for 3pm, and the servers were–if not outright rude–a little brusque. The food, however, was incredible, and the thing that blew me away was the coq au vin that Tom ordered.
Coq au Vin is similar to Beef Bourguignon–a tough rooster is seared in fat, then braised slowly in red wine. From my understanding of French cuisine, usually Burgundy wine is the top choice, although others could be used as well. Though delicious, it’s never been something I’ve tackled in the kithcn: mostly because I lack the foresight for multi-day preparations, and many recipes (especially traditional ones) span two to three days.
This, however, is brilliant. Not too far from the original preparation, but with a significantly shorter prep time, the dish doesn’t lack on flavor in the least. I wouldn’t call it ‘quick’ – total prep and cooking time clocked in at just under 90 minutes for me, but certainly an improvement over a few days. This is the perfect dish for a long winter’s night – one that warms you up nicely from the inside out, especially over some creamy mashed potatoes or fluffy rice.
Easy Coq Au Vin
Adapted from Cooking Light
1/2 lb. thick-cut bacon
1 whole cut-up chicken
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh-cracked ground pepper
1 c. white onion, chopped
1/2 c. (about 3 stalks) celery, chopped
1/2 c. (about 2 medium-size) carrots, chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 bottle red wine (Burgundy is best)
2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
8-10 pearl onions, halved
1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
In large, deep skillet or dutched oven, fry the bacon until very crispy. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels, and drain all but about 2 Tbsp. from the pan. Sprinkle chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper and to hot pan (they should sizzle when they hit the bacon fat – if not, it’s not hot enough!). Cook for about 10 minutes, turning once, or until skin is nicely browned, and remove from the pan.
Add the onion, celery, carrots, thyme, garlic, and bay leaves and cook 5 minutes until onions are clear. Add tomato paste and stir to combine well. Stir in wine and bring to a boil – allow to boil for 10 minutes or so or until the mixture has reduced by half. Make sure you stir it once in a while so it doesn’t burn. While you’re waiting, chop the bacon into small pieces.
Add the chicken back to the pan, add the chicken broth, and simmer for 35 minutes or until juices run clear. Turn the chicken pieces after 20 minutes so they cook evenly. Remove the chicken from the pan again and cover. They’ll be purple – don’t freak out!
Boil the remaining liquid over high head until reduced by half (about 10 minutes). While it’s boiling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Once it shimmers, add the mushrooms and pearl onions. Saute until they are a nice brown color. This will take about ten minutes – by the time they are done, your sauce should be reduced.
Remove the bay leaves from the sauce and add in mushrooms and onions. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes or until warmed through.
To serve, plate chicken and fair amount of sauce. Top with parsley and bacon. Makes just enough for four–or two with enough for lunch the next day.
**This recipe is Metabolism Miracle Step-Two friendly, and can be made Step-One friendly with the exclusion of the carrots, although it will change the texture slightly**