Coq Au Vin

 Last week the snow caught us by surprise.  It so seldom snows here and when the forecast called for two inches.  The entire city stayed home.  Schools were closed for three days and many businesses closed shop.  Having spent most of my life in the mountains - this seemed somewhat ridiculous!  That was until I saw what happened in Atlanta.  Millions of people stranded on the interstates and highways all night long in the freezing cold.  Our daughter and grandson had a flight scheduled to leave out of Atlanta on Wednesday.  Cancelled - so we had one more day with the baby.  I have to admit - I was
 grateful for the snow!   We took him to the beach on Monday and on Wednesday he saw his first snowfall.  The weather changes so much from day to day here.
Yesterday was balmy and warm - today - cold and rainy.  Time for comfort food.  Coq Au Vin is always a good go to and I particularly like this recipe from Patricia Greathouse.  Patricia doesn't always include an ingredients list in her recipes, so I'll try and fill in the gaps:

Coq Au Vin

One cut up large roaster chicken (Patricia uses a rooster)
Two medium yellow onions
3 carrots halved
20 or so mushrooms sliced (I use Baby Bellas)
One bag frozen Pearl Onions
Unsmoked Bacon
Bay Leaf
Fresh Thyme
One bottle of wine (I use white wine - because I don't like the look of purple chicken)
Note:  This recipe doesn't call for garlic - we like garlic in ours and would recommend adding 2 to 4 cloves of garlic.

Salt and pepper the chicken pieces and set aside.

Begin with the unsmoked bacon.  Think of it as adding richness and flavor.  Cut it in lardons and render out the fat in a large skillet.  Drain and reserve it, but leave the fat in the pan.  Add some nice little pearl onions to the pan and brown them on all sides.  Reserve them, too, in the same bowl as the onions.  Add some butter to the pan and brown the mushrooms and add them to the bowl.  Now add even more butter and brown the chicken, which you have patted dry first.  Once the chicken is browned, pour off the fat but keep the browned bits.  Pour the bottle of wine into the pan and deglaze.  Add the chicken, a couple of halved carrots and onions cut almost in half but still held together by the root end.  Top it off with enough chicken broth to cover the chicken,  throw in a bay leaf and a little thyme, put the lid on, and cook on the stove top on the lowest flame or in a slow oven until the rooster is quit tender.  This may take several hours.

Once the rooster is tender, remove the pieces from the cooking liquid and set aside, tented.  Discard the onion and the carrots.  Add the mushrooms, onions, and lardons to the pan and slowly reduce the cooking liquid until it is a rich sauce. Taste for seasoning, and add salt at this point (if you add it earlier, it may be too salty after reduction.)  Add the rooster back in and warm through.  Serve with potatoes, rice, or noodles to enjoy with the sauce.

Photos By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman
The Zenchilada