We go through a lot of whole, free-range chicken at the restaurant, and I am always searching for ways to use the legs and thighs. Sometimes they end up in sausage or in a small plate to serve in our lounge. But other times, they inspire my version of a classic French bistro dish. Feel free to substitute dry white wine for the red, and you’ll have coq au vin blanc.
This recipe is courtesy of Heartland: Farm-Forward Dishes from the Great Midwest cookbook by Lenny Russo and Burgess Lea Press.
- 6 chicken thighs, about 1 ¼ pounds
- 6 chicken legs, about 2 pounds
- 1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine
- Seasoned flour, as needed
- 1/4 Pound slab bacon, finely diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 3 turnips, peeled and diced
- 1/4 Pound pearl onions, peeled
- 12 crimini or button mushrooms, quartered
- 12 garlic cloves
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1/4 Cup cognac or brandy
- 1 bouquet garni (1 Italian parsley sprig. 1 thyme sprig,1 marjoram sprig, 1 bay leaf, 12 black peppercorns, 6 white peppercorns, 1 whole nutmeg)
- 1 Teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Cup freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon chopped Italian parsley, chopped
Place the chicken in a deep nonreactive bowl. Pour in the wine, making sure to completely cover most of the chicken. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the chicken from the bowl, reserving the wine. Dust the chicken in seasoned flour. In a braising pan over moderate heat, cook the bacon until brown, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, turnips, onions, mushrooms and garlic and cook until lightly browned. Remove the bacon and vegetables and set aside.
Melt the butter in the pan and add the chicken. Cook over moderately high heat until browned on both sides. Add the red wine and cognac, scraping bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the bouquet garni. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat until the chicken is very tender, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Return the vegetables to the pan. Season with the salt and pepper and simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer the coq au vin to a ceramic or glass baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top, and place in the oven until the stew begins to bubble and the bread crumbs have browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.