The Meal Planner

This month the Secret-Secret Geography Club paid a visit to the world of rich and buttery French cuisine. I channeled my inner Julia Child to make this decadent dish of chicken cooked in red wine with mushrooms, pearl onions and fresh thyme. HEAVEN! I'm not going to lie to you: this is an expensive dish, one that you would only bust out on special occasions or when you have your most favorite people over for dinner. But our International Dinner Club is CHOCK FULL of amazing cooking skills and I'm innit to winnit people. I could not bare the shame and torture of bringing a mediocre dish to our dinner party which clearly means that I have to sell my first born and right kidney for FOOD THAT WILL BLOW THEM AWAY. Alright slight exaggeration, but I did want to knock their socks off.

*Recipe from Emeril Lagasse

Serves 8

Coq au Vin:
10 slices bacon, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 lbs chicken (either one chicken cut up or equivalent amount of thighs and drumsticks bone-in, skin on)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 onion, finely chopped
20 small pearl onions, peeled
2 shallots, finely minced
1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 lb button mushrooms, wiped clean and halved or quartered if large (should match the size of the onions)
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp tomato paste
3 cups full-bodied dry red wine (like Pinot Noir or Cotes-du-Rhone)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf

Egg noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large, heavy Dutch oven over high heat fry the bacon until crisp and all of the fat is rendered. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crisp bacon bits to paper towels to drain. Set aside.

Season the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper. Brown the chicken pieces in the hot bacon fat, working in batches, if necessary, and turning to ensure even cooking. Transfer the chicken pieces to a large plate or bowl and set aside. Remove some of the bacon fat, leaving about 4 tablespoons in the Dutch oven. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the chopped onion, pearl onions, shallots and garlic cloves to the Dutch oven and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. It sounds like the garlic will be overpowering, but because you leave them whole it's a more mild garlic flavor that you expect.

Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes longer, or until they've released most of their liquid and have begun to brown. Add the flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly add the wine and stock, stirring constantly. Add the thyme, bay leaf, reserved bacon and chicken. Bring liquid to a boil. Cover the pot, place in the oven and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the chicken is very tender. Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving dish and cover loosely to keep warm. Return pot to medium-low heat. Skim any fat from the surface of the cooking liquid and increase the heat to medium-high. Cook until the sauce has thickened slightly and coats the back of a spoon, about 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Return the chicken to the Dutch oven and cook for a few minutes to heat through, then serve.

Braised Leeks with Thyme: (serves 4)
4 large leeks, tough outer leaves discarded and leeks trimmed to about 7-inches in length
3 tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
1/4 tsp salt
Pinch of pepper

Using a sharp knife, trim most of the roots off the end of the leek, leaving enough so that the leek remains attached at the bottom. Cut each leek lengthwise into halves or quarters, as desired. Run leeks under cold running water, using fingers to loosen and remove any dirt or sand from between the leaves.

In a heavy skillet or saute pan that has a tight fitting lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks to the skillet with any water that is clinging to the leaves from washing them. Cook the leeks, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the stock and thyme and lower the heat to medium-low. Braise the leeks, covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the leeks are very tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Serve the coq au vin with egg noodles and braised leeks. Garnish with more fresh thyme.

Click here for printable version of Coq au Vin & Braised Leeks with Thyme

In-friggin'-credible. The sauce is amazingly rich and velvety from the red wine and has such a full-bodied flavor. And the leeks? Complete surprise. Did you know they become insanely sweet and delicious? The sweetness of the leeks is a perfect compliment to the rich and flavorful chicken. Read: The leeks are NOT AN OPTION but a MUST.

I walked away from this meal feeling very pleased with myself. No one had socks left.

Oui oui! Ce poulet est très délicieux!

This recipe is being entered into the blog event Bookmarked Recipes. Each week bloggers from all over the blogosphere try a recipe they have bookmarked either from a website, magazine, cookbook, or food blog and they are gathered and posted every Monday. This week is being hosted by James at Cotswold Food Year.

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4 Responses
  1. Everyone loves coq au vin - a good choice for your 'geography' club.

    Thanks for submitting to Bookmarked Recipes!

  2. Thanks for doing such a great job hosting :)

  3. Tara Says:

    Wow Kin, I am very impressed. This meal sounds amazing! You're such an adventurous lady. Maybe on a day when I have some time and am feeling brave I'll give it a try;)

  4. Thanks my friend! It's definitely a meal you guys would appreciate...although the flavor of the red wine is very apparent (but without the dry bitterness of the tannins on your tongue). And talk about adventurous Miss Goat Cheese and Spinach Risotto and Orange Essence Creme Brulee on a Friday night! Look at you go :)

    P.S. Did you see that I made TWO of your recipe suggestions this week?