Coq au Vin
The season dictates we turn to dishes more ‘hearty’ in nature. With the option to slow cook, packed with flavour, made with minimal effort, and without breaking the bank, Coq au Vin is the perfect dish. Best served with creamy mash, with freshly baked crusty bread to mop up the rich gravy, in my opinion. As Paul is on his jollies in France, as well as his extensive career in Paris, I thought we could have a French inspired dish for this month.
1.8kg Free range chicken cut into 10 pieces (You could ask your butcher, know a good one?!)
140g Smoked pancetta lardons
12 Small shallots, or baby onions, peeled but kept whole
2 Large carrots, cut into slanted slices around 1cm thick
2 Celery sticks, sliced 1cm thick
400g Button mushrooms
3 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped
500ml Red Wine (I used the Chapeau Melon Rouge)
300ml Chicken stock
A good knob of butter
3 Tbsp flour
6 Sprigs of thyme
2 Bay leaves
Pre heat the oven to 150C / 300F / Gas mark 2
Heat a little olive oil in a cast iron, or casserole dish on a medium to high heat. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Place the chicken pieces in the dish skin side down, in batches, so not to over crowd. Ensure the skin is well browned and crisp before turning to brown all over, but not cooked through. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Add the pancetta to the dish and fry until browned, around 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan. Add the onion, carrots and celery, cooking on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the button mushrooms and fry for another 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring so it doesn’t burn. Remove the vegetables and set aside.
Add any juices to the dish from the chicken and pancetta, along with the butter. Add the flour, scraping all the burned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the red wine, slowly incorporating it into the pan, using a whisk to avoid lumps from forming. Add the chicken stock, thyme and bay leaves. Allow it to simmer, for around 10 minutes, thickening and reducing slightly, stirring regularly.
Add the chicken (skin side up), pancetta and vegetables back into the dish with the red wine sauce. Season again with salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and put in the oven for 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through and the carrots are tender.
Serve with creamy mash potato, with crusty bread on the side.