I love this kind of food. You know the one, where everything goes into a pan and then just sits in the oven for a while. There is something about a one pot dish that just makes me smile every time, and this is no exception.
Now I realise that Coq au Vin is one of those recipes that is popular, and therefore there are many versions around. For me, it’s all about simplicity.
Which is good because that’s probably all I can muster at the moment. It seems, unbeknownst to anyone, that this week has been voted the ‘if you don’t know at least three people who have birthday’s, you’ve not lived’ week. Catchy eh? And very true.
So, I have spent the week, making, buying, wrapping and visiting in a truly hamster on a wheel approach with the occasional element being missed out – we still have to deliver our nephew’s birthday present. Very enjoyable if not slightly bewildering after a while.
But this evening we are at liberty to make our own fun, hence the Coq au Vin in the oven, with jacket potatoes snuggling up beside them, a bottle of Cotes du Rhone Village opened and ‘breathing’, and my informal wear (otherwise known as pyjamas) most definitely, on. I am going nowhere.
And, for those of you who are the slightest bit interested, here is how I do it.
Get a large bowl, add some flour, salt and pepper and coat a few chicken thighs in the flour. Some people use legs, but I prefer the taste of the meat on the thigh. (As I reread this, I’m thinking, ‘Ooo, err, one for the ladies there… ‘ I can only apologise for any misplaced innuendo)
Cook on a low heat for about ten minutes turning once, in a swig of vegetable oil and a generous knob of butter which has been melted in a pan.
Take out and leave on a plate. Replace with shallots, garlic and streaky, or normal if that’s all you have, bacon which has been cut into smallish pieces.
After a while add two tablespoonfuls of tomato puree, a chicken stock cube, some boiling water, 3/4 bottle of red wine – saving yourself a generous glassful in order to ‘quality control’ – a few sprigs of fresh thyme (teaspoonful of dried if you don’t have fresh) and the chicken thighs.
Bring to the boil then place in the oven, gas mark 5 for around an hour then add some button mushrooms. I like to use the chestnut ones if they’re around, but it really is a personal taste thing. Leave the mushrooms to enjoy the company of the other items in the pan, for around 20 minutes. Then bring out of the oven.
Now, there are a couple of things that I should probably point out at the risk of teaching my grandmother to suck eggs.
Firstly, cook in the oven with a lid on. And secondly, when you take the Coq au Vin out of the oven, let it sit for 5 – 10 minutes on its own. I know that’s my ‘couple of things’ spot taken up, but there is just one more thing that I think is worth pointing out. This can also be cooked on the hob. Both ways taste just as delicious.
I like to serve it with jacket potatoes as the wee boy just cannot get enough of them. It is also delicious with a crusty loaf. Either way, it’s wonderful, and will leave you feeling completely satiated.
Perfect Sunday food.