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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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