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Coq Au Vin

Coq Au Vin by chef Thomas Keller

My rendition of a classic coq au vin uses all dark meat because white meat has a tendency to dry out and the dark meat is a natural fit with the wine flavour.

The garnishes can be refrigerated in the braiser with the chicken or stored separately so their flavours and colours will stand out more in the finished dish.

The wine is flambéed because it is important to cook off the alcohol before marinating the chicken, or the alcohol could begin to cook the meat.
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Marinade

• 1 cup sliced (1/2-inch) leeks (white and green parts only)
• 1 slab of bacon, about 3" x 1 1/2" x 1 1/2"
• 1 cup diced (1-inch) yellow onions
• 2 cups sliced (1/2-inch) button mushrooms or mushroom stems
• 1/2 cup sliced (1/2-inch) carrots
• 3 cloves garlic, smashed
• 8 Italian parsley sprigs
• 3 thyme sprigs
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
• One 750-ml bottle red wine, such as Côtes du Rhône 

Chicken

• 4 large chicken drumsticks (6 to 8 ounces each)
• 4 large chicken thighs (6 to 8 ounces each)
• 6 tablespoons canola oil
• Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
• All-purpose flour
• 3 cups chicken stock
• 6 Italian parsley sprigs
• 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce) unsalted butter pearl onions
• 16 red pearl onions, peeled (see Note*)
• 16 yellow or white pearl onions, peeled (see Note*)
• 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
• Coarse salt
• Granulated sugar
• 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

Mushroom

• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 4 large shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut into 4 pieces each
• 4 large chanterelle mushrooms, stems scraped clean, tops trimmed and cut into pieces the same size as the shiitakes
• 12 small button mushrooms, trimmed
• 4 large oyster mushrooms, trimmed and cut into pieces the same size as the shiitakes
• 2 thyme sprigs
• 1 clove garlic
• Coarse salt
• 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
• 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

For the marinade

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the leeks in a bowl of warm water and swish to remove any grit. Lift the leeks from the water and place in a large Copper-Core Braiser.

Cut the bacon in half. Cut one of the pieces into lardons (matchsticks) that are 1 inch long and 1/4 inch thick. Wrap and refrigerate the lardons. Add the remaining piece of bacon to the pan, along with the remaining marinade ingredients. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a full boil. Tilt the pan away from the flame and carefully ignite the wine with a match. Allow the alcohol to burn off. Return the wine to a boil and attempt to light it again. If it doesn't ignite, the alcohol is gone. Cool the marinade to room temperature.

Place the chicken in a large, heavy, re-sealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and seal the bag. Lay the bag on a baking sheet or in a baking pan and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, or up to a day, turning the bag over at least twice.

Remove the chicken and place on a tray. Strain the liquid into a small sauce pan, reserving the solids. Bring the liquid to a simmer over medium heat. Remove any impurities that rise to the top and discard. Set the marinade aside.

Heat the large Braiser over low heat. Add the canola oil and increase the heat to medium. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a dish, dredge the chicken thighs in flour, and immediately place in the pan, skin side down. Dredge the drumsticks in the flour and add them to the pan. Cook for about 6 minutes, until the bottom is crisped and evenly browned. Turn the chicken and brown on the second side, another 3 to 4 minutes, then remove from the pan.

Leaving the fat in the pan, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom and sides. Add the reserved solids to the pan, stirring and scraping to deglaze the pan, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour to coat the vegetables (the flour will thicken the sauce), then arrange the chicken pieces over the vegetables, skin side up. Add the reserved marinade, chicken stock and parsley and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and place in the oven to braise for about 55 minutes, or until the chicken is very tender. Let the chicken cool down in the liquid to absorb the flavours.

Remove the chicken from the pan. Remove and discard the parsley. Strain the braising liquid through a colander into a bowl. Discard the solids. If desired, cut off the ends of the drumsticks with poultry shears and use a paring knife to scrape the meat away from the end of the drumstick to expose the bone. Clean the braiser and arrange the chicken in it, skin side up.

Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer (or chinois) into a sauce pan. Let the sauce sit for 15 minutes, then skim off any fat that has risen to the top. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat, skimming any impurities that rise to the top. Strain the sauce twice through the fine-mesh strainer again during the simmering process, reducing the size of the pot as necessary. As the sauce reduces and thickens, the bubbles will become more pronounced and the flavor will intensify. When the sauce has reduced to 1 1/2 cups, whisk in the butter. Strain the sauce a final time over the chicken in the braiser.

At this point, the chicken should be covered and refrigerated overnight. The garnishes can be prepared the same day and refrigerated in the pan with the chicken, or they can be cooked the day of serving.

For the pearl onions

Place the red onions in a small sauté pan that holds them tightly in a single layer. Do the same with the yellow or white onions. To each pan, add cold water just to cover them, 1 teaspoon butter and a pinch each of salt and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the onions are tender, the water has evaporated and the onions are glazed. If you like caramelised onions, sauté them until lightly browned. When the onions are done, add the red wine vinegar to the red onions and swirl the pan to coat the onions. (The vinegar will help to keep the red onions bright.) Set aside.

For the mushrooms

Place the oil in a large fry pan and warm over low heat. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the shiitake mushrooms. Sauté for about 30 seconds, then add the chanterelle and button mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the oyster mushrooms, thyme, garlic, salt to taste and butter. Sauté for another 3 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender. Drain on paper towels.

Place the lardons in a small sauce pan with water to cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer for 4 minutes, then drain and spread on paper towels. The pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon can be arranged over the chicken and refrigerated with it, or refrigerated separately.

To serve: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the coq au vin, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is hot throughout. If the garnishes were refrigerated separately, heat the mushrooms and onions in a fry pan and reheat the lardons in a small pot of simmering water, or if you prefer, crisp the lardon until golden brown in a small skillet. Scatter the vegetables and lardons over the chicken and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serves 4

Chef Thomas Keller's tip



"The entire dish should be cooked a day ahead to give the flavours a chance to develop
"
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