Just where would French cuisine be without its wine? It's as important in the pot as it is in the glass, the base ingredient of many French stews and braises. One of the best French dishes that make use of wine is coq au vin (Chicken in Wine), in which succulent chicken is slowly simmered in red wine. This is a delicious dish, and here we show you how you can make it yourself.
Coq Au Vin (Serves 6-8)
• 6 to 8 large (about 3 pounds) chicken thighs, skin on
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 3/4 cup (about 1 ounce) dried wild mushrooms
• 1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) 1/2-inch cubed pancetta or bacon
• 1 large red or yellow onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
• 2 medium carrots, cut into large bite-size pieces
• 5 large cloves garlic, peeled and gently smashed
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 3 cups dry, fruity red wine (zinfandel, burgundy)
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 2 bay leaves
• 4 whole sprigs fresh thyme
• 6 to 8 whole sprigs fresh parsley, to garnish
3. Add the carrots, crushed garlic, wine, tomato paste, chicken stock, bay leaves, and thyme. Lower the heat so that the liquid is barely simmering. Cover and cook for around 20 minutes, or until the chicken has been cooked through and an instant thermometer reads 165°F.
1. Lightly sprinkle the chicken thighs on all sides with salt and pepper. Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them (just enough to cover).
2. Over a medium heat in a pan large enough for the chicken, brown the pancetta, about 5-7 minutes. Add the onions and cook for another minute, until they begin to soften. Turn the heat up to medium-high, add the chicken, skin side down, and cook, turning the pieces over as they brown on each side. Drain off any excess fat.
4. Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter. Skim any excess fat off the top of the liquid. Remove the mushrooms from their liquid, and add them to the pan. Pour the liquid through a fine sieve into the pan. Turn the heat up to high and boil the mixture until the sauce is reduced by a third to a half, depending on how much time you have available. Remove the bay leaves and thyme.
5. A few minutes before serving, place the chicken pieces back into the sauce to reheat. Serve each chicken thigh topped with a ladle of sauce and garnished with chopped parsley leaves or parsley sprigs.