Tag Archives: classic

Coq au Vin

Pearl Onions

I love cooking with wine.  Although I do enjoy a dry white splashed into a pan of caramelized shallots for deglazing, or marsala stirred into a mixture of sauteed mushrooms and garlic before a bit of cream is added, I most enjoy meat or poultry braised slowly in red wine over the course of a Sunday afternoon.  Anticipation builds as a heavenly aroma fills the house making us all a bit anxious for dinner time to arrive to see whether the finished product lives up to its promise.

Sometimes, I’m a fairly hard sell.  It isn’t so much that the most recent recipe I’ve experimented with isn’t good;  they very nearly always are.  But think about it.  Once you’ve had an amazing version of something you truly enjoy, it’s challenging for anything else to replicate the wonder of that first bite.

Mention Coq au Vin and someone will ask about what the special occasion might be.  When you consider that any braise is done because the meat used is not an expensive cut, and needs to cook for a long time to make it tender, you know it isn’t necessarily a fancy dish.  In the case of Coq au Vin,  traditionally, the farmer’s old rooster became the dinner.  Bacon, mushrooms, onions, and a liberal quantity of red wine made for quite the send off for that old rooster, and a savory treat for the farmer after a hard day’s work.  All things considered, Coq au Vin is a one pot dish.

I’ve had my eye on a recipe for Coq au Vin I first saw in Saveur. The only reason I haven’t made it before now is that it required marinating the chicken overnight and sometimes my lack of planning gets the best of me.  That oversight hasn’t kept me from making Coq au Vin because I just choose a different version.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t solved the problem.  I’ve wondered about how the marinade might change the complexity of the flavors and whether this particular recipe might be the one to best all of the others.

Evidently, I’m not the only one. It just so happens that it’s the source of the next recipe I’d like to try for Coq au Vin.  Might it be the one?  I’d have to actually find a rooster that doesn’t have his feathers on to get started…and deal with his kidneys.

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Scrumptous Extra Sharp Cheddar Souffle

cheese souffle

Extra Sharp Cheddar Souffle

For some reason people either haven’t made a souffle before, or completely shy away from the whole idea.  I’m thinking it’s because of all those times they’ve heard about or seen segments on television shows or cartoons where the souffle has collapsed, or turns out like a brick.  I know that when I cook something for the first time, anything can happen — but not if I’m thorough in my reading of the recipe, have the right materials and ingredients, and pay attention.  And that’s usually difficult, because when you’re slugging down chardonnay as fast as I can, then things can get fuzzy.

I have made only five souffles over the years.  The first one was made in a newly remodeled kitchen with the MoH in our very new 36″ gas Dynasty range.  It came out perfect.  Truly.  The second was to celebrate a new kitchen in our current home with my VBF and her husband over for the show.  They were considering a new kitchen of their own and were thinking about what kind of range to purchase, and wanted to see my shiny 48″ Duel Fuel Wolf in action.  The only thing this range doesn’t have is four-wheel drive.  The souffle came out perfectly again.  And has each time.  We’ve even been known to scream loudly at the souffle after taking it out of the oven just to see if it would deflate.  Nope!  I’m sure that now I’m telling everyone that a souffle is safe to attempt, my next will fall completely flat.  I’ll make sure I let you know about that when it happens.

Nevertheless, take it on.  You won’t be disappointed.  I recommend Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One.  It not only provides the recipe, but variations, and also very important techniques that help improve your cooking craft.  There are no shiny food porn pictures, but that’s not the point of this book.  Just follow the directions, learn the techniques, and take your own pictures.  That will be far more worthwhile.

I chose to serve this souffle with a baby romaine salad tossed in a light basil-oil and lime vinaigrette topped with asparagus sauteed in garlic and diced prosciutto, and topped with a sort of granita made of diced and seeded tomatoes, minced shallots, and grated lemon peel.  Simply, and completely, taste bud heaven.

Scrumptous Extra Sharp Cheddar Souffle

(Souffle Au Fromage)

Serves 4
Preheat oven to 400 degrees (I did not use a convection setting for this souffle)

Position rack in the middle of the oven with no rack above it.

Materials:

6-cup souffle mold (important if you want the souffle to rise up above the rim of the dish)
2-1/2 qt. saucepan
Wire whip
Mixer

Ingredients:
1 tsp butter
1 T grated fresh Parmesan (fine grate — a planer works excellently)
3 T butter
3 T flour
1 c. boiling milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
pinch cayenne
pinch ground nutmeg
4 egg yolks
5 egg whites
big pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar (added because I was using an electric mixer with more than 2 whites)
3/4 c. extra sharp cheddar (used for my recipe)

Directions:

  1. Measure out all your ingredients ahead of time — Very Important!
  2. Separate egg yolks from the whites.  Add the extra egg white to the others, and save the extra yolk for another purpose if you wish.
  3. Butter inside of souffle mold and sprinkle with grated — you may need more than the 1 T stated
  4. Boil milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave while the flour mixture is cooking.
  5. In the 2-1/2 qt. saucepan, melt butter and stir in the flour, cooking over medium heat.  Allow to foam for two minutes without browning.    Remove heat.
  6. When bubbles are gone, pour all the boiling milk
  7. Beat vigorously with a wire whip until blended.  Beat in the seasonings as well.
  8. Return to medium high heat and boil, stirring with the whip for 1 minute until thick.  Remove from heat.
  9. Pour egg whites into the bowl of a mixing machine and whip on low for 1-2 minutes, add the salt and cream of tartar, and switch to high, beating until stiff and glossy, about 1 minute more.  Be careful to not overbeat.
  10. Pour egg yolks into the saucepan milk mixture one by one, whipping vigorously each time one is added.  Check seasoning, and correct to your liking.
  11. Take a very large spoonful of the eggwhites and gently fold it into the egg yolk mixture in the saucepan.  Stir in all but 1 T. of the grated cheddar cheese.
  12. Carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites, being careful to not over mix.
  13. Pour the combined mixture into the souffle dish.  It should be about 3/4 full.
  14. Tap the bottom of the dish once lightly on the counter, and carefully smooth the top of the souffle.
  15. Sprinkle remaining grated cheddar (1T) over the top.
  16. Set souffle on the middle rack of the oven.  Immediately turn the temperature down to 375 degrees.
  17. Cook for 25-30 minutes.
  18. DO NOT open oven for the first 20 minutes during cooking, or at all if you can help it.
  19. The finished souffle will be at least 2″ above the rim of the souffle dish, and nicely browned.
  20. Serve immediately to the Oooohs and Ahhhhs of your incredulous guests.