Monday, March 23, 2009

An Adventurous Sunday Dinner!

Coq au vin (French: "rooster in wine") is a French fricasee of chicken cooked with wine, lardons (bacon), and optionally garlic.

Older chickens are traditionally used because they contain a lot of connective tissue, which creates a richer broth when cooked.

This is a dish I have never had, but have always wanted to try. While working on some other things, I had the Food Network on in the background and the show that was at the time, "Rescue Chef", was highlighting this very dish (in fact, all three dishes), and I decided, what a great idea for a Sunday dinner!

Many recipes for Coq au vin are complex, and there are several ingredients, but this recipe was quite simple. This is also a dish you can WOW your friends when you invite them to dinner (They'd really appreciate it if you invited them to dinner!)

Click here for all 3 recipes: "Go To" Dinner Party

This is definitely a recipe where "pre-prep" is very helpful!

Start off by heating some unsalted butter and olive oil in a large heavy pot or dutch oven and sear your chicken pieces on both sides. Be sure to only cook a few pieces at a time because if you crowd too many pieces together, you're going to steam the chicken rather than sear it and won't get the desired results. Keep in mind at this step, the chicken will not be fully cooked, so don't go nibbling or you're going to regret it!

Remove the chicken to a seperate tray or pan and add your pieces of bacon. Cook these until they're browned.

Next, add your mirepoix (carrots, celery & onions) and cook for about 2 minutes.

Now this recipe says to blanch, cook and peel your pearl onions for the dish. I HATE trying to peel pearl onions, so as a time saver, you can buy peeled pearl onions in the frozen veggies section of the supermarket. I use those and they work just fine!

Now comes the fun part, pour in the brandy and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Please be careful, brandy is flammable, and if your burner is up too high, there's a possibility it could ignite!

Be sure to scrape all those lovely browned bits off the bottom of the pot and add your flour, stirring and cooking for about a minute.

Add the thyme sprigs, mushrooms and pearl onions and give it a good stir to mix it all up!

Return the chicken pieces to the pot, this time you can fit them all snuggely and add your chicken stock. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Now, more booze!!!! Add the entire bottle of red wine and your bay leaves!

Cover and place in the oven for an hour and a half, until the chicken is cooked through and quite tender!

While that's in the oven, prepare your "mash"! We're using a mix of turnips and parsnips. These are two very delicious root vegetables and this is a great alternative to mashed potatoes! Turnips are high in Vitamin C. Parsnips are related to the carrot and are richer in vitamins & minerals than carrots. They're very rich in potassium and high in dietary fiber!
After you've peeled and sliced your turnips and diced the parsnips, add them to a large saucepan and cover them with cold water. Add some kosher salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil the vegetables for about 8-10 minutes.

Drain the vegetables, placing them back in the pot. Add some butter and chopped fresh thyme and mash them all together with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Serve the Coq au vin along with the sauce and vegetables ladled over the mash and you've got a fantastic, hearty dinner!

Now for dessert. These tarts can be made in advance. You'll want to serve them at room temperature.
On a parchment lined baking sheet, place the puff pastry (cut into 4 even squares), evenly spaced.

Create a border around the inside of each square by scoring about a 1/2" from the edge all around the square. Prick the dough, with a fork, on the inside of the smaller square. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.

Overlap thin slices of apple and nectarine within the border of each pastry square. Brush the fruit with melted butter and sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar each.

Bake the tarts until pastry is golden and puffed around the edges. About 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle each tart with a teaspoon of honey, and let cool. While the tarts are cooling, whisk together some mascarpone cheese and some orange liqueur.

Top each cooled tart with a dollop of the flavored mascarpone, serve and enjoy!


  1. I love the tarts! I also love your plates!

  2. Kenn - Thanks! I got those dishes from my mother and THEY'RE NOT EVEN "MARTHA"! LOL!

  3. I LOVE these tarts! I have homemade, (yes, homemade) puff pastry in the freezer that I haven't used (scares me a bit)! These looks heavenly... the perfect use for it. Just making the pastry was a chore! Wonderful stuff!