Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.
Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.
Coq au Vin
Pronounced - coke oh vah - literally translates to chicken with wine. Courtesy of Chef Andy Mueller.
This is a braised dish which requires a sear over high heat. Searing the chicken is imperative as it not only seals-in the juices but also leaves behind all of the crusty stuff on the bottom of your cast iron that contributes to the distinctive flavor of Coq au Vin during the long and slow simmer that follows.
Trust me - when you are preparing the sauce - it's all about those little browned crumbs.
Chicken thighs are perfect for this dish. They’re plentiful and inexpensive.
This past weekend I put a wild game spin on the recipe by substituting a couple of wild turkey drumsticks and thighs along with four nice chicken thighs.
The original recipe is as follows.
Have ready: 3-4 pounds chicken thighs rinsed, patted dry, trimmed of excess fat and seasoned with salt and cracked pepper. In a Dutch oven or heavy bottomed stock pot over medium-high heat, add:
Once the butter bubbles begin adding the chicken thighs one at a time.
Make sure you get a good brown on all sides of each piece of chicken. Do the work in batches so you don’t crowd the pot or your chicken will steam and not brown properly.
When your chicken pieces have been browned, remove them and set aside on paper towels to rest. To the pot add the following:
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves diced garlic
8 garden carrots, peeled and cut on the bias about two inches long
½ t salt
½ t pepper
¼ t dried thyme
1 T brown sugar
Cook the ingredients, stirring frequently, for about 5 minuets. Then add:
1 cup brandy
Cook until the brandy is almost evaporated, then add:
Cook for several minutes and add:
1 32 oz carton of chicken stock
2 ½ cups dry white wine
1 Bay leaf
Bring to a boil, add the chicken, return to a boil, and then reduce heat, cover and simmer. Cook for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Hold on simmer.
(Note - Since I substituted wild turkey - I gave the turkey almost a three hour head start before adding the chicken and the carrots. The nice thing about a braised dish is you can string it out for quite awhile if you wish.)
In a large skillet over medium-high heat add:
When the butter bubbles, add:
¾ pound of sliced mushrooms
1 clove minced garlic
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
1T brown sugar
Cook until almost all of the residual cooking liquid is evaporated then add to the mushrooms:
Cook for several minutes then add:
2T cold butter cut into four pats. Add the butter pats one at a time and wait until each one melts before adding the next. Your shrooms will have a nice sheen.
Remove the chicken from the wine and herb broth with a slotted spoon; set aside on a platter covered in foil and hold in a 200 degree oven.
Reduce the wine/herb broth to about four cups then add the mushroom/onion mixture to the sauce. Add a pinch of nutmeg and simmer.
Top the chicken with the mushroom sauce and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.
I served it with a medley of roasted root vegetables, and baby spinach sautéed with red onion and some of my kassler rippchen.
This was pitched as a French recipe.
But my guests all agreed that it could be easily adapted to the German. If I made this with pork shanks or goose and served it with my homemade kraut (in lieu of the carrots and mushrooms) I might just hit the sweet spot!