Several days before leaving on our recent cruise we received a call from Randy’s sister telling us that she would be on the east coast on business and would stop by for a few days. The first thought I always have when someone is coming to visit is: What to cook?
Antoinette would be arriving within three days of our return and we were not really sure what her schedule was so I set about choosing at least two main dishes to prepare before we left on our trip. Summer was over but winter was just a cold snap away so I decided to make a dish that was more substantial than a salad but lighter than a stew. As I do so often I drifted back to the many wonderful dishes I cooked for my family back in the seventies.
One recipe I chose was a ‘Coq Au Vin’ from the Betty Crocker Recipe Card Libraryfrom 1971. This recipe was in the “Entertaining on a Shoestring” section of the library. I loved these recipe cards because as a young woman and just learning to cook for a family they had not only the recipe but wonderful pictures of what the dish looked like and suggestions on what to serve with the dish sometimes including dessert. Can you see the stains on the card? That tells you just much I loved this dish and how often I made it much to the delight of my family.
I love this recipe because the chicken cooks up so incredibly delicious and tender. This particular recipe calls for all things readily available at the grocery store. When I shopped at Giant Food Stores in Virginia they had a chicken package called ‘pick of the chix’ which was perfect for this dish. It had three breasts, three legs and three thighs. This selection was just perfect for our family, something for everyone. I still use the combination of chicken today.
Burgundy is the typical wine used in this dish however; many regions of France use local wines, Rieslings, Beaujolais, Champagne and others. I stayed true to the recipe using Burgundy.
COQ AU VIN
½ cup Gold Medal flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
6 slices bacon
6 small onions
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
4 carrots, halves
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup red Burgundy
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon salt
*Bouquet Garni: Tie ½ teaspoon crushed thyme leaves, 1 bay leaf and 2 large sprigs parsley in cheese cloth bag or place them in tea ball.
Wash chicken and pat dry. Mix flour, salt and pepper; coat chicken with flour mixture. In large skillet fry bacon until crisp; drain and set aside. Brown chicken in hot bacon drippings.
Push chicken aside; add onions and mushrooms and cook and stir until onions are tender. Drain off fat. Crumble bacon; stir in with remaining ingredients.
Cover; simmer about 1 hour or until chicken is tender. Remove Bouquet Garni before serving. Skim off excess fat. If desired, sprinkle with snipped parsley. 4-6 servings.
*(I usually do not bother to put the thyme, bay leaf and parsley in cheese cloth or a tea ball I just add along with other ingredients. I remove the bay leaf before serving.) This dish can be made a day ahead.
As it turned out Antoinette had a very busy schedule so in the end we only had one meal together. I served the Coq au vin over wide egg noodles, added a salad and crusty bread for a perfect dinner for a breezy, cool, fall evening.
I had never made this particular dish for Randy and was surprised when he cleaned his plate. You see he hates cooked carrots. “I really do not like cooked carrots,” he said after finishing his meal. “But I liked these carrots. They were really good”. Trust me when I tell you that is high praise from Randy.
I made a wonderfully light dessert to finish the meal but that is a blog for another day.