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Simple and Comforting: California Coq au Vin

This is a great and simple Sunday supper recipe for fall. It’s my spin on the classic French dish Coq au Vin which basically means chicken stewed in wine. The French dish tends to use red wine but I like to give a little nod to my California wine country roots and use a very dry California Sauvignon Blanc.

This version is loaded with flavor but isn’t as rich as the original. The use of pancetta or bacon adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the base of this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 whole organic chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 5 oz. chunk of pancetta (slice into 1 inch strips)
  • 1 TBSP. butter
  • 1/4 cup sliced leeks (1/2 inch slices)
  • 8 whole Cipollini onions, trimmed and peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup celery, rough chopped
  • 1 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup Crimini mushrooms, sliced - 1/2 inch – not too thin
  • 1 cup Morel mushrooms, sliced (you may use any wild mushroom available)
  • 1 cup homemade, organic chicken broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine (California Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup chopped italian parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black peppercorns

Steamed, roasted or mashed potatoes (of your choice)

Instructions:

Combine flour, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper in a bowl.  Clean chicken and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.  Make sure the chicken pieces are very dry so they brown more easily.  Coat each piece of chicken on all sides with the flour.  Set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, melt 1 TBSP butter.  Place pancetta strips in butter and cook on med. high until they are crisp – but be careful not to burn.  Transfer pancetta to a plate with a paper towel.

Keeping heat at medium high, brown all sides of each piece of chicken.  Be sure not to crowd the chicken and get each side nice and honey colored but not too brown.  Once all chicken is brown, remove from the Dutch oven and set aside.

Place onions, leeks, celery, and carrot in pan and lightly saute until the onions are just translucent.  Add the garlic to the pan.  Place chicken and crumble pancetta in the pan.  Add chicken broth, white wine, 1/2 tsp salt, Bay leaf, thyme sprigs, parsley and cracked peppercorns*.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 40 minutes.  After 40 minutes, in a separate small pan sauté the mushrooms until just brown in a tablespoon of butter.  Be sure not to crowd the mushrooms so they lightly brown instead of steam. Once they are lightly brown, add them to the chicken.

Continue to simmer until chicken is very tender.  Check seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs before serving.  Serve with your  favorite potatoes and a tossed baby green salad.

*For best flavor, use cracked not whole peppercorns – place in a dry fry pan and lightly heat for 30 seconds… this enhances the flavor of peppercorns

 

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