Absinthe’s Coq au Vin

Serves 4

Adapted from Absinthe Bar & Brassiere in San Francisco, executive chef Adam Keough, who serves this classic dish with roasted potatoes and crostini. This recipe does take time, but the results are worth it. Note:  Must salt the chicken the night before.  I think this is best made 1 day before serving

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Stock:

  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1/2 medium leek
  • 4 ounces cremini mushroom
  • 1 whole chickens, about 3 1/2 pounds each
  • — Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 4 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 quarts home-made or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 pig’s foot, cleaned (optional — we didn’t use it)
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme

To finish the meal:

  • 1 /2  of 750 ml. bottle red Burgundy/Pinot Noir
  • 2 large carrot
  • 1 large turnip or rutabaga
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 8  ounces pearl onions
  • — Cremini mushroom caps reserved from making the stock
  • — Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 6 slices applewood-smoked bacon (I used high quality slab bacon which I preferred)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • — Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 minced garlic

For the stock: Peel, then roughly chop the carrots, celery and yellow onion into 1-inch pieces and set aside. You should have about 1/2 cup each of the carrot and celery (add to the same bowl) and 1 cup of onion (in a separate bowl). Trim leek: discard tough dark green potion, halve lengthwise and rinse well between layers. Roughly cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup); add to the onions. Remove mushroom stems (reserve caps, keep dry and refrigerate); trim and quickly rinse or wipe away any debris; set aside.

Remove chicken leg-thigh quarters and wings; set aside. Use a meat cleaver or chicken shears to cut along either side of backbone and then through the rib cage; cut the breast in half.

Chop chicken back into 4 pieces and disjoint wings; pat dry with paper towels and set aside. Season legs and breasts generously with salt and black pepper; place atop a rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Wrap entirely with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Heat the canola oil in a large, heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium-high until very hot but not smoking. Add the chicken backs and wings and sear on all sides until golden brown; remove and set aside.

Add carrots and celery to pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown. Add onions and leeks; brown lightly. Add garlic, peppercorns and mushroom stems; cook briefly. Add chicken stock, pig’s foot, reserved backs and wings, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and skim and discard scum. Simmer gently for 2 hours.

Strain through a fine strainer; reserve the pig’s foot and discard other solids. Chill stock quickly in an ice water bath, then refrigerate overnight. Makes about 1  quart.

To finish: Pour wine into a large non-reactive skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat, and boil until reduced by half; set aside.

Meanwhile, peel carrots, turnips and celery, then cut into 1-inch dice (you should have about 1 cup each ). Place in a large bowl. Briefly blanch pearl onions in boiling water, then peel (you should have about 3/4 cup); set aside separately. Quarter or halve mushroom caps (you should have about 3/4 cup); set aside separately.

Move rack to bottom third of the oven and preheat to 300°. Remove chicken from the refrigerator and pat dry. Heat enough canola oil to generously cover bottom of a large, non-reactive, ovenproof pot or Dutch oven over medium-high.

Working in batches as needed, dredge chicken in 2 cups flour, shaking off excess (discard the leftover flour). Cook the chicken, skin side down, until golden brown; turn and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. When finished, drain fat from pan, leaving any browned bits in the pot.

Cut bacon crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Add to pot, and cook over medium heat until slightly crisp. Remove bacon and set aside, leaving fat in the pan.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add carrots, turnips and celery; cook until light golden brown; remove from pan to a large bowl. Repeat with onions and then with mushrooms, adding each to the bowl.

Add butter and 2 tablespoons flour to the pot, stirring continuously to form a quick roux. Whisk in wine reduction, add thyme, and bring to a boil. Add reserved stock, stirring to combine. Add chicken legs; bring to a boil, cover and place in the oven. Bake 40 minutes. Add breasts, cover and bake 30 minutes more.

Remove pot from oven and rest, still covered, for 1 hour. Meanwhile, pull meat and fat from reserved pig’s foot; chop and set aside. Discard bones.

Remove chicken from the pot; set aside. Remove and discard thyme sprigs.

Place pot over medium heat; bring to a boil and reduce liquid to desired thickness; it should coat the back of a spoon. Add chopped pig’s foot to sauce; taste and adjust seasoning if needed, and keep warm.

Disjoint legs and thighs. Halve each breast crosswise to yield a total of 34breast pieces. Add reserved vegetables and chicken back to the pot, and spoon sauce over; rewarm if needed.

Combine parsley and garlic to make persillade. Sprinkle persillade and reserved bacon over coq au vin, and serve.

Serve roasted potatoes and croustades.

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