The other night, my friend Tony Ventura, wine writer extraordinaire and fabulous cook, mentioned he was making Coq Au Vin on a very snowy night in Buffalo, NY. With the cold weather finally upon us here in South Florida, I quickly asked him if he would be kind enough to share his recipe - I just knew it would be a good one. Wow, was it ever!
He shared a quick version of the classic French recipe which is a rustic, braised, chicken dish made with wine, mushrooms, and lardons (bacon). While Coq Au Vin is typically made with Burgundy, many regions of France have their own variations using their local wine including coq au vin jaune (Jura), coq au Riesling (Alsace), coq au Champagne, and so on. The most extravagant version is coq au Chambertin, but this generally involves Chambertin more in name than in practice. I have to say, the recipe was delicious, extremely easy to make, taking about thirty minutes from start to finish. I served it over egg noodles and it was the perfect dish for a wintery night in Buffalo or Delray Beach!
Despite the above-mentioned suggestions, I used a red wine from Southern France, specifically the Languedoc's Minervois AOC. The 2006 Gérard Bertrand Minervois is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Carignan, rife with blackberry and roasted coffee with hints of mocha on the finish. The wine has great minerality, indicative of the region's soils, ample tannins and a food friendly acidity. It was a nice match for the Coq Au Vin and a great value as well! What's not to love about that?
So do yourself a favor and hit the store tonight, pick up the few ingredients you don't already have in your fridge and treat your family or friends to a delicious French dish. Also be sure to check out Tony's fabulous wine column "Tony's Tastings" on the website Ciao Italia with MaryAnn Esposito. Thank you, Tony!
Coq au Vin (Rapide)
From Debra F. Weber, Your Guide to French Cuisine.
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon olive oil
12 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
1/3 cup diced Canadian bacon
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1. In a large zip-lock plastic bag, combine the flour, thyme, and salt. Add chicken and shake to coat.
2. Over med-high heat in a large non-stick skillet, heat oil. Add chicken and cook until browned ~ about 8 minutes. Remove.
3. Add mushrooms and bacon and sauté 2 minutes.
4. Stir in the wine, broth and tomato paste and cook 10 minutes.
5. Return chicken to the pan; cook 8 minutes.