Weeknight Coq au Vin

Weeknight Coq au Vin

Just a bunch of basic grocery items coming together for a French classic. From "Ruhlman's Twenty," a recipe book and technique manual by Michael Ruhlman. I highly recommend it if you want to start cooking. 

Coq Au Vin
"Ruhlman's Twenty" by Michael Ruhlman

4 chicken legs
4 ounces/155 grams bacon strips, cut into 1/2-inch/12-millimeter pieces, or 4 ounces/155 grams slab bacon, cut into lardons
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed with the flat side of a knife
kosher salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose/plain flour
1 carrot
8 shallots, peeled
2 bay leaves
1/2 pound/225 grams white mushrooms, quartered
1.5 cups/360 milliliters red wine
2 tablespoons honey
freshly ground black pepper
optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley, julienned Lemon Confit, grated lemon zest

I really appreciate how Ruhlman has made this recipe efficient - you can finish it in an hour so it can be a weeknight dinner or you can prepare it up to three days in advance and finished in just a few minutes.

Roast the chicken legs for 20 minutes at 425 degrees on a baking sheet. Be careful with this because the chicken releases a lot of fat which is scalding hot and running all over the pan and probably popping and sizzling. My smoke detectors went off even though I couldn’t see any smoke. So just remember to be super careful when pulling this out of the oven. When you do, reduce the oven temp to 325 degrees F.

Heat the bacon, onion, and garlic in an ovenproof cooking vessel that can hold the chicken legs snugly in one layer. (5.5 quart dutch oven used in video, for two legs.) Add two three finger pinches of salt.

And add enough water to just cover the ingredients. The water will carry the flavors of the onion, bacon, and garlic throughout the dish. Cook over high heat until the water has cooked off, about five minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until the onion has begun to caramelize, about five minutes more.

Sprinkle the flour over the onion mixture and stir to distribute it.

Nestle the chicken skin-side down into the onion mixture in one layer. Tuck a carrot and bay leaf into the pan and add the shallots and white mushrooms. The mushrooms can rest on top if there’s not enough room in the pan, they’ll cook down.

Add the red wine and honey and season with pepper. Add enough water to reach three-fourths of the way up the chicken. Bring to a full simmer over high heat. Slide the pan, uncovered, into the oven.

Cook the chicken for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, turn the chicken pieces skin-side up, and stir the ingredients to make sure that they cook evenly.

Taste the sauce and add salt if it needs more. Continue to cook until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes longer.

When you remove it from the oven, just the skin side of the chicken should be above the liquid.

If you’re serving this immediately, turn on the broiler on high and broil until the skin is crisp, only 3-4 minutes. Before serving, discard the carrot and bay leaves.

Serve the chicken and sauce in pasta bowls and garnish as desired.

If the chicken is not being served immediately, it can be kept on the stove top for hours or it can be refrigerated for up to three days. At this point, you can degrease the sauce. Spoon off the fat that rises to the surface or refrigerate it and remove the congealed fat before reheating the sauce. And then to reheat it, put it in the oven for thirty minutes at three hundred twenty-five degrees and broil to crisp the skin.

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