Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Coq of the Walk

Last night, I put together a meal for a group of my husband's guy friends, who came over for dinner. I ask you, what more appropriate thing to cook for a sausagefest like that than Coq au Vin? (Oh, yeah, now that I mention it, I guess sausage would have been good, too).
Coq au Vin, for you deprived souls who have not fully embraced the world of French cuisine, is a classic dish made by braising chicken in red wine. And - as is the case with most things containing red wine, bacon, onions, garlic, and parsley - it is very very tasty. And, served on top of egg noodles with butter and parsley (hey, I know what I like), hearty enough to satisfy the crowd at a man dinner party.

To follow, I made an Apple Skillet cake from Pioneer Woman's blog, which I served with honey ice cream. I know that honey ice cream is kind of prissy, but I figured the skillet made it more manly, so we broke even.

Here are the recipes, in case you are ever in need of a Y-chromosome-friendly dinner (that's delicious enough to please the gals, too). Man-tastic!

Easy Coq au Vin
Serves 6

3 fresh thyme sprigs
5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1 bay leaf
3 slices bacon, cut into pieces
12 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 4 pounds total)
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 large onion, chopped
6 medium carrots, sliced crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups dry red wine, such as a Pinot Noir or French Burgundy
1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth

What you do:
1. Using cheesecloth and cotton kitchen twine, tie thyme, parsley, and bay leaf into a bundle; set aside (this is called a bouquet garni in classic french cooking- once you know how to do this, you are half way to being the chef at Les Halles).
2. Heat a Dutch oven or 5-quart heavy pot with a lid over medium-low. Add bacon; cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain (leave bacon fat in pot).
3. Raise heat to medium-high. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper. Working in two or three batches to avoid crowding, brown chicken about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; set aside.

4. Add onion, carrots, and garlic to pot. Cook until onion softens, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and flour; cook 1 minute.

5. Add wine, broth, chicken, and herb bundle. Bring to a boil; cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook 10 minutes; uncover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard herb bundle; stir in bacon.

Apple Skillet Cake
(You should check out Pioneer Woman's original post on this- she illustrates each step very appetizingly)

4 to 5 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into six equal slices, plus 1 apple peeled, cored and chopped finely
2 3/4 sticks butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped finely

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a 9 to 10-inch skillet, melt 1 3/4 sticks of butter over low heat. Add 3/4 cup sugar to the pan and stir around, then place apple slices, wedge side down, in the pan. Don’t pack them too tightly, but try not to leave overly large gaps. Allow this to cook over low/medium-low heat while you make the cake batter.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1 stick of butter and 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and eggs. Add sour cream and mix well. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture until just combined. Gently stir in 1 chopped apple.

Remove skillet from heat. Spoon batter over the top, then spread gently so batter is evenly distributed. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and bubbly. Allow cake to sit in skillet for five minutes, then invert onto a serving plate. Don’t worry if some of the topping isn’t perfect—it’ll taste perfect!


BRed said...

Ugh, I'm now quite annoyed I don't live in NYC so I couldn't make the festivities

Anonymous said...

I am looking to purchase a Le Creuset Dutch Oven (partly because I was inspired to make Coq au Vin) - what size do you recommend?

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