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Coq au vin

This quintessential French food was popularised by Julia Child through her television show and book and seen as one of her signature dishes. It is a dish of chicken braised with wine, mushrooms, salty pork or bacon (lardons), mushrooms, onions, often garlic and sometimes with a drop of brandy. Although the name translates as ‘rooster or cock in wine’ – and braising is ideal for tougher birds – the recipe usually uses chicken or capon. A red Burgundy wine is typically used, although French regional variations exist using local wines, for example coq au vin jaune (Jura), coq au Riesling (Alsace), coq au pourpre or coq au violet (Beaujolais nouveau) and coq au Champagne (Champagne).


4 chicken thighs
4 chicken legs
2 cups full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, if needed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
10 white pearl onions, peeled
1/2 pound small cremini mushrooms
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons Cognac
1 chicken liver, coarsely chopped
2 bay leaves
5 fresh thyme sprigs


1. Place chicken in a large bowl, and add wine. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove chicken from wine, and pat dry; reserve wine. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
3. Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until crisp, about 20 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate, leaving drippings in pot. (You should have 3 tablespoons; you may need to add oil.)
4. Raise heat to medium-high. Working in batches, cook chicken, flipping once, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Add onion to pot, and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, and cook 2 minutes. Add pearl onions and mushrooms, and cook until brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in flour and tomato paste, and cook 2 minutes. Add Cognac, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
5. Return bacon and chicken to pot. Pour in reserved wine, and add chicken liver and herbs. Bring to a simmer. Cover, and place in oven until chicken has cooked through and vegetables are tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Discard herbs, and skim fat from surface.


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