Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fowl play...

I wrote this a couple days ago but couldn't finish it in time to post. I'm glad I have something for you though even if I didn't cook today. Much, much love to you all!

It finally feels like winter here in Southern California. We had a full week of heavy rain. You could even see your breath at times. (Anyone visiting from somewhere that is actually cold would laugh at what we Los Angelinos consider chilly.) It seems fitting to eat a warm, rustic dish like coq au vin in this type of weather. For those of you unfamiliar with coq au vin, it is a French braise of chicken in wine. Burgundy is the wine typically used but I found this great looking recipe in the book Braises & Stews that took the white wine route instead. There was a wonderful aroma from the wine, pancetta and vegetables that permeated throughout my house. Just simple flavors at their best. Here is my revised version of their recipe.

Coq Au Vin Blanc

4 chicken breasts, with skin and bone
4 oz pancetta, diced (or bacon if you can't find pancetta)
1 medium onion, halved and sliced thin
2 medium carrots, medium dice
1 tsp dried thyme or 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced garlic
10 oz sliced mushrooms
1 cup white wine
2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
6 small yellow or white potatoes, quartered
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

Rinse chicken in cold water and dry well with paper towels. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil up in a large pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat.

When the oil is glistening hot, add the chicken skin side down first. Sear for 5 minutes. Flip them over and cook the other side for another 2 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add the pancetta, cook until they are crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

You want a couple tablespoons of oil in the pan so if there is more than that, drain it out. Turn down the heat to medium. Add the carrots, onions and thyme. Saute until softened. About 5 minutes. Add garlic, saute for 30 seconds more.

Add 1 cup of chicken broth and mushrooms and cook for about 7 minutes, scraping brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the wine and season with salt and pepper to taste (make it quite flavorful since you are adding some more broth after this). Return the chicken to the pan. Pour in the remaining chicken broth until 2/3 of the breasts are submerged, leaving the skin part above the liquid. When it all comes back to a boil, place the whole pan into the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

To serve, I sprinkled the crispy pancetta over the chicken and placed the pan in the middle of the table, family style, on a trivet with a large serving spoon. I served it over some brown rice.

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