Monday, September 27, 2010

Classical Jazz

BACK! Back to classical French cooking, I say! Last night, to celebrate my return to classical French cooking, I decided to return to one of my favorites...coq au vin (chicken in red wine). I rely on a recipe from that old standby,  Joy of Cooking.  The recipe has pretty much been the go-to one I have used for nearly thirty years, and quite frankly, I've tried others and they don't stand up.  First, the gathering of ingredients, and prep that makes it all go smoothly.

At the risk of sounding redundant, the lessons learned over a lifetime of cooking dictate that preparation is the key factor that can make the difference between success and failure...on to the actual cooking. First, a little saute of bacon/onion/garlic fun.

Although the recipe calls for shallots, I usually substitute red onions...I find they have the sweetness required...ooops, forgot to add the carrots for the browning step!

Ahhh...that's better. Now time to brown the chicken..

The chicken is nicely browned, so now it's time to put the veggies back in the pan, and add the flour and seasonings, and tons of red wine, of course.

What I love about coq au vin is it's beautiful mix of textures and go the mushrooms, chicken and red wine!

Now, an hour-long simmer to mellow the wine, and get the other ingredients to absorb the flavors....and this is what it looks like after an hour. You'll notice the reddish-winey color has changed to a deep, mellow brown.

And this is how it looked on my very happy dinner plate...

If anyone ever asks me about re-creating French classic cooking, I let them know to relax, pour a glass of wine, make your kitchen the soul of your home, and it will be well.  Eat well my friends, au revoir!

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