Keith's Coq au vin
· Bacon, 6 strips cut into ¾ inch wide lardons
· Chicken legs and thighs (6-8 pieces)
· 2 yellow onions, sliced
· Garlic, 4 cloves minced
· Carrots, about 2 cups baby
· Fresh tarragon, 1 tbs.
· Tomato paste, ¼ cup
· Mushrooms 1 lb. cremini are better, white will work.
· Dry red wine, like pinot noir (about ½ bottle 375 ml)
· Chicken Stock (about 1 cup)
· Flour 2 tbs.
· Butter 2 tbs. at room temperature.
· ¼ tsp. Sweet Paprika
· ½ tsp. dried tarragon
· Salt & Pepper
Note: I do a lot of this by eye so the measurements may not be exact. What I think is more important in cooking is that the process is correct. Things need to be hot enough or dry enough for the cooking process to occur correctly. So if I am cooking and what I am expecting to happen, isn’t happening, I make adjustments on the fly.
Preheat Oven to 350.
Prepare your mis en place… Cut everything up and measure out everything in advance. This will also let you know if you are missing anything.
Here, I put the carrots and onions into one bowl because I know I am going to cook those both at the same time. But the mushrooms will go in later, so they go into a separate bowl.
In a large oven-proof Dutch oven, cook the bacon until it’s almost crispy. The bacon will first start to steam until all of the water cooks out and then it will start to fry. Do no overcook it to where it would be ready to eat. Stop just before that point. Remove the bacon to a plate with a paper towel to drain, but save the bacon fat in the pot.
Liberally salt and pepper the chicken
This step is very important, and most people tend not to season enough here. You want to see the salt and pepper on all of the chicken-- both front and back. Over a medium-high flame, brown the chicken on both sides. This can take anywhere from 5-8 minutes per side. Do not crowd the pot. You probably will have to do this step in 2 batches so take your time. I often see the first batch takes longer than the second batch since the pot is hotter by then, and I often have to turn the heat down for the second batch. Make sure you don’t burn the chicken, but you do want a nice brown crust. Heat control is critical here. If your pot is not hot enough, you won’t make a nice crust. If it’s too hot, you will burn the skill. Watch and adjust as necessary.
When each batch is done, remove it and put it on a plate. You will want to keep the juices so don’t use the bacon plate with the paper towel. Use a clean plate. Cook and remove the second batch of chicken as before.
If there is too much oil in the pot, drain some so that there is just a coating on the bottom of the pot. Into the same pot, add the sliced onions and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Get into the habit of seasoning with each addition you add when you cook. This is a good habit to form. Cook over medium-high heat until the onions start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes until it gets fragrant, but not burning or browning.
Add the mushroom and season with salt and pepper. Cook until they release all of their liquid and that liquid has almost all evaporated. I turned up the heat to high for this stage and also put the lid on the pot for a few minutes. This seems to get the mushrooms to start to release their liquid a little quicker. If you don’t do this step now, the liquid will come out during the main cooking process and add liquid to your sauce that you were not expecting.
Push all of the vegetables to the side of the pot making a well in the middle where you can see the bottom on the pot. Add the tomato paste into this well and cook until it changes to a darker brown about 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally but not mixing it with the vegetables.
Now you can stir everything back together and add the chopped tarragon and the dried tarragon. Stir to combine.
Add the wine and stir removing any brown bits that are stuck to the bottom on the pot. Add the chicken stock too.
Return the bacon to the pot and stir to combine.
Add the paprika. I don’t think this is traditional, but I think it adds a nice color and flavor to the sauce.
Add the chicken back to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Try to keep the chicken skin side up and push the pieces under the sauce as much as you can. Here’s what that looks like before going into the oven:
Bring to a simmer so that it’s just starting to bubble. Cover and bake in oven for 1 hour.
With a fork, press the flour into the room temperate butter. You want to enrobe all of the flour with the butter.
Carefully remove the pot from the oven and place back on stove. I am not sure if this has a name, but this ring around the inside of your pot indicates that you have made something good. I call it the “halo effect” that you made heavenly delicious food.
You can’t get this by another method. Not the Instant Pot or from the stove stop. It’s what you want to see when you open your pot. You can remove the chicken at this step while you finish the sauce, but if you are careful enough not to disturb the chicken too much, you should be fine to keep it in the pot.
Drop the butter/flour mixture in places around the pot. Carefully stir to melt the butter and thicken the sauce. Cook until the sauce has thickened enough for your preference. If it’s too watery, you may need to add more flour/butter.
You have a lot of options on what to serve this over. I usually do it over farfalle pasta, but you can do any starch you like. Mashed potatoes would be a good idea too.