Friday, April 6, 2012

Simple Coq au Vin Blanc

In anticipation of the French cooking class I'm hosting next month, I began testing coq au vin recipes last week. 

I far prefer coq au vin blanc versus the coq au vin made with red wine. With white, the sauce tastes similar to beurre blanc, but richer and more savory. Moreover, I'm in love with beef bourguignon, and I don't want the dishes to taste quite so much alike. 

That's something I've begun to notice with classic French food; it has a tendency to all taste similar. You can only transform butter, leeks, mushrooms and white wine in so many ways. Eventually, everything tastes like it came from the same kitchen. 

However, this weekend, I'm cooking a ratatouille with herb roasted Cornish game hens. The flavors of Provence at their best! And I have a feeling as I move into this and other regional French cuisines, I will discover plenty of exciting new flavors. 

For now, I hope you enjoy this coq au vin blanc recipe as much as I do

serves four

1/4 cup olive oil
3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (a starchy gluten-free flour is acceptable) 
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup button mushrooms, stemmed and halved
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups dry white wine, I enjoyed Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup chicken stock 
4 tablespoons cold butter, diced 
1/4 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and coat lightly with flour. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a wide pot. Sear the chicken, skin side down until a beautiful golden-brown crust forms. Turn and sear on the other side. You may have to do this in batches so as not to crowd the meat. When finished, remove the chicken to a separate dish. 

Add two tablespoons of butter to the pan and brown the mushrooms for 2-4 minutes. Add the onions, garlic and thyme, and cook for another 2 minutes. 

Deglaze the pan with white wine, scraping up all of the lovely browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and heat to a simmer. Add the chicken, in a single layer. Cover the pan and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Remove the chicken and vegetables to a fresh serving platter. Strain the sauce into a small saucepan and simmer until reduced by about one third. Remove from the heat. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Add cold butter to the sauce one tablespoon at a time, whisking to emulsify. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and serve immediately. 

Serve with buttered potatoes. 

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