A few years ago my mother gave me Julia Child’s Cook Book, I’ve paged through it but it wasn’t until recently that I really took interest in it’s contents. This Sunday I set out to cook Chicken Coq Au Vin, a decadent French classic. My grandmother was coming the next day and this is one of her favorite dishes so I thought it’d be a great way to welcome her.
As usual, I’ve added my own touches to the recipe, but it turned out great! Here goes:
- First we are going to fry the lardons. Cut the pork belly into lardons (rectangles 1/4-inch across and 1-inch long). Simmer for 10-15 minutes in 2 quarts of water. Rinse in cold water. Dry. This process will help remove the salt.
- In a large casserole or Dutch oven, saute the lardons slowly in hot butter until it is very lightly browned. Remove and set aside. Use the same pan for the next step.
- Dry the chicken thoroughly with a paper towel and season with salt. Sear with the pork fat until it is brown and crispy.
- Add the lardons, cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once.
- Flame: Add the cognac and light it with a match. Shake the casserole back and forth until the flames subside.
- Add the wine and just enough stock to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, vegetables, garlic and herbs. Cover and simmer slowly for 20 to 25 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, blanch the onions for about 5 minutes and then sauté them until just browned.
- Sautee the mushrooms in a bit of butter until soft and browned and set aside.
- Check the chicken, it should be tender and fully cooked. Remove the chicken to a side dish.
- Reduce the braising liquid, making sure to skim off excess fat. You want to reduce it by half so it is slightly thick.Season to taste and remove the bay leaf.
Arrange the chicken in a casserole, place the mushrooms and onions around it and baste with the sauce.