Coq au Vin

“I cook with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.”

So says a humourous magnet that H. bought me. And it’s coming true in the case of this post. Unfortunately, despite my love for wine, I really did not like this meal. It is rare I cook things that I don’t like. If something goes wrong, it’s one thing, but this one turned out just fine and I simply didn’t like it. 😦

I found some chicken thighs at the market and decided I’d try coq au vin – a dish I have never eaten before. The recipe is another from Craig Flinn‘s Fresh and Local.

  • Marinate the chicken overnight in a combination of 1.5 tsp tomato paste, salt, pepper, a bay leaf, some fresh thyme, and wine. I used about 2/3 of a bottle (the original recipe says a full bottle but also uses more chicken, so I modified it for what I had which was 4 good-sized thighs).
  • When ready to cook, take the chicken out of the fridge, dry it off, and sear in some olive oil until browned on both sides. (Keep the marinade to add in later).
  • Meanwhile cook about ~100g (less or more, as desired) bacon and set aside. *Use streaky bacon if in the UK.
  • Add a tsp of butter to a frying pan (I used the same one throughout), and cook onions (recipe calls for 20 pearl onions, I used 2 shallots), garlic (anywhere between a half and full head), and about ~150g button mushrooms for about 10 minutes. Then add a 1tsbp of flour and mix with the fat to make a roux – I didn’t find this worked well for me. Perhaps I should have used more flour?
  • Deglaze the pan with roughly 1/8 of a cup of brandy and add the marinade back in. Stir well, and then add the chicken and bacon back in. Simmer for 30 minutes, covered (I uncovered it for the last half as I wanted the sauce to become a bit thicker).

As I said above, I wasn’t happy with this meal. The taste for me was too ….. wine-y. And a bit unpleasant. I felt that the sauce should have been a bit thicker too. It was a real shame as the chicken was great quality and very tasty but I couldn’t finish mine. It has all kind of ingredients I like — bacon, chicken, lots of garlic, mushrooms, wine! — but ultimately the combination didn’t work for me. H. liked it, but I won’t be making it again anytime soon.

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