Coq au Vin, is a French dish traditionally made by braising rooster with wine and aromatics. It’s a great technique to tenderize tough old cocks and it’s pretty similar to another French favorite, beef bourguignon.
For those with a better memory than mine, you may remember my last Coq au Vin. It was really good, but true to the name of this blog, I don’t use recipe (not even my own), and I tend to come up with different variations every time I make something. For me, a recipe is simply a snapshot in time that captures one iteration of a dish.
The ingredients I use change with the seasons and with my mood. In the end, my goal isn’t to come up with the “perfect” recipe, in fact, in my view of the world, there’s no such thing. In the same way a fashionista adds new styles to their wardrobe while mixing and matching different combinations, I’m a foodie that likes to experiment with new ingredients and try them in different combinations.
This time around, I added dark chocolate at the very end, to give the sauce that earthy nutty flavor of cacao and a rich luxurious texture on your tongue. This may sound like an odd addition to some, but if you’ve ever had a mole rojo at a Mexican restaurant, you know what a great addition chocolate can be to a savory sauce.
Give this Choc au Vin a try or go back to the original, either way, have fun with what you cook and make it work for your pantry and your diet, but most importantly, make it work for you!
1/3 lb. extra thick cut bacon cut into batons
8 chicken thighs with skin and bone
smoked sea salt
1 large onion chopped
1 large stalk celery chopped
4 cloves garlic sliced thin
3 Tbs Cognac or Armanac
2 C Malbec
2 C chicken stock
1 California bay leaf
6 sprigs thyme
3 Tbs tomato paste
2 Tbs flour
1/2 lbs button mushrooms quartered
1/2 lbs cipollini onions peeled
1.5oz Dark Chocolate (82% Cacao)
1/3 C roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
In a large chef’s pan or dutch oven, fry the bacon over medium heat until most of the fat has rendered out (but not until the bacon is crisp). Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Generously salt and pepper the chicken thighs and place in the hot pan, skin side down. Leave undisturbed for 6-7 minutes or until skin is golden brown, then flip allowing to brown lightly on the second side. Transfer to plate.
Remove 2 Tbs of fat from the pan and set aside in a small bowl. Add the onion, celery and garlic and saute until soft, scrapping the fond off the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t burn. Deglaze the pan using the cognac. Allow most of the liquid to evaporate, then add the red wine, chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, and tomato paste. Return the bacon and chicken to the pan and turn several times to make sure they are well coated and submerged in the liquid. Cover with the lid slightly askew (so steam can escape) and simmer over medium low heat until the chicken is tender 35-45 minutes.
Add 2 Tbs flour to the fat you’ve reserved and stir until there are no lumps. When the chicken is tender, transfer to a plate and tent with foil. Add the mushrooms and onions to the pan and turn up the heat to medium, simmering uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the onions are cooked and the sauce has reduced a bit. Add a few tablespoons of sauce to the fat/flour mixture and stir to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the sauce in the pan one spoonful at a time, mixing well after each addition to make sure there are no lumps. I don’t like my sauce too thick, so I stopped about 2/3 of the way through, but if you like a very thick sauce, you can add all the roux. Salt and pepper to taste, then add the chocolate and stir vigorously to melt the chocolate into the braising liquid. Return the chicken to to pot to reheat and coat with the sauce.
Serve over mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or as a stew with a crusty baguette. Plate the Choc au Vin and sprinkle some smoked sea salt and parsley on top to garnish.