There are a good many Americans who enjoy their football. I’m not one of them. I do, however, enjoy being stuffed to the gils in the name of celebration—every chance I get. And there’s always the commercials.
I agreed to watch football with Jim on Sunday (our first football-watching together—Jim’s more a basketball man.) There was no prepared guacamole, no piggies-in-a-blanket, no hot wings. It was a more of a subdued, half-hearted Superbowl party, one where the food was pretentiously “French.”
It was a spur of the moment decision to make the coq au vin, though I wish I had planned it. What great fun it would have been to invite all our friends over for a French Superbowl Dinner!!
The game turned out to be quite thrilling, though I think my coq au vin could kick any Giant ass around! The recipe comes from the Barefoot Contessa and appealed to me in it’s relatively quick cooking time—maybe skipping any marinating time makes this coq au vin less “classic,” but I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference! The wine-soaked chicken is succulent and falling off the bone. Seared mushrooms and baby pearl onions perform a balancing act of woodsy-sweet-savory flavors. The sauce, which I let boil down a bit to increase the flavor, was fruity yet not too tannic—I wouldn’t substitute a California pinot noir for the burgundy, unless you happen to favor the California’s bold taste. The tangy buttermilk mashed potatoes with fleur de sel were a great side dish—a bit lighter than regular butter-and-cream concoctions.
I stashed this recipe in my favorite file for Sunday night dinners; it would be divine even if there were no big, brawny men chasing each other around on your television set!
Coq Au Vin
serves 4-6//adapted from Ina Garten
While the recipe called to add the onions directly to the pan, I thought browning them along with the mushrooms would lend a brown-buttery flavor. It did and I highly recommend that step.
5 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.
Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.
Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add onions to saute pan and cook until browned (or seared really.) Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 20 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.
Fleur de Sel Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4-1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon fleur de se;, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper, or more to taste
Place potatoes in a saucepan and fill water up to about 1/8 of an inch above the potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender (you can easily puncture them with a fork.) Drain and add back to pot or serving bowl.
Add in buttermilk and skim milk and butter. Mix well. Add in fleur de sel and black pepper to taste. Serve immediately, with extra fleur de sel on the side, or keep warm over a double-boiler.