How to make it

  • Note: If you have the time to blanch and skin them, fresh pearl onions are terrific. Simply cut an “x” in the root end, blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds, remove them with a slotted spoon, and refresh them in a bowl of ice water. Then slice off the very tip of the roots with a paring knife and squeeze the onions gently from the blossom end. They will pop right out of their skins.
  • 1. Generously sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and ground black pepper; set aside. Bring red wine and chicken stock to boil in large, heavy saucepan; reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until reduced to about 4 cups, about 20 minutes.
  • 2. Meanwhile, fry bacon in large Dutch oven or deep, heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat until fat has rendered and bacon is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate to drain; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon butter with rendered bacon fat; add carrot, onion, shallots, and garlic and sauté until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Following illustration 1 below, press vegetables against side of pan with slotted spoon to squeeze out as much fat as possible; transfer vegetables to pan with reduced wine mixture (off heat) and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from Dutch oven or sauté pan.
  • 3. Return Dutch oven or sauté pan to burner over medium-high heat and add another 1 tablespoon butter. When butter is melted, add chicken (in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding) and cook until well browned all over, turning once or twice during cooking, 12 to 16 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate; set aside. Pour off all fat from Dutch oven or sauté pan; return to heat and add wine-vegetable mixture. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan with wooden spoon (see illustration 2, below). Add browned chicken, bouquet garni (thyme, parsley, and bay leaf tied together), and tomato paste to boiling wine mixture; return to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently, partially covered. Turn chicken once during cooking, until tender and infused with wine flavor, 45 to 60 minutes.
  • 4. While chicken and sauce are cooking, heat another 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add pearl onions and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if butter starts to brown too fast, until lightly browned and almost cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms, season with salt, cover, increase heat to medium, and cook until mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to high, and boil until liquid evaporates and onions and mushrooms are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer onions and mushrooms to plate with bacon; set aside.
  • 5. When the chicken is cooked, transfer to serving bowl or platter; cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Following illustration 3, below, strain sauce through fine mesh sieve set over large measuring cup, pressing on solids with wooden spoon to release as much liquid as possible; sauce should measure 2 to 3 cups. Return sauce to pan; skim as much fat as possible off surface. Counting 1 tablespoon each of butter and flour for each cup of sauce, mash 2 to 3 tablespoons each butter and flour in small bowl or plate to make a beurre manié, as shown in illustration 4. Bring sauce to boil and whisk in beurre manié until smooth. Add reserved chicken, bacon, onions and mushrooms; adjust seasoning with salt and ground black pepper to taste, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer very gently to warm through and blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Check seasoning one more time and adjust with additional salt and ground black pepper if necessary; add parsley. Transfer chicken to serving platter; pour sauce over chicken. Serve immediately.
  • Key Steps to Coq Au Vin:
  • 1. Using a slotted spoon, press the vegetables against the side of the pan to remove the fat after sauteing them.
  • 2. Add wine-vegetable mixture, then use a wooden spoon to scrape up the caramelized material on the bottom.
  • 3. After the vegetables have been cooked in the wine-broth liquid, press them in a strainer to release the juices.
  • 4. Mash together equal amounts of butter and flour, then whisk into the simmering sauce to thicken it.

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