Coq Au Vin
A Fancy name for a traditional French, slow-cooked, chicken stew
This recipe serves 4
1 MarinSunFarms Range Hen
an onion, a carrot and a few peppercorns for the stock
5oz pancetta or unsmoked bacon
2 medium onions
a large carrot
2 ribs of celery or celeriac
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsps flour
2 tbsps cognac
a bottle of red wine
4 or 5 small sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaves
12 shallots, peeled
1 cup small mushrooms
boiled or steamed potatoes, to serve
Using a large, sharp, knife joint the chicken into 7 or 8 pieces. Put the chicken bones and carcass into a deep pan, cover with water, add an onion and a carrot, half a dozen whole peppercorns and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and let it simmer until you need it.
Cut the pancetta into short strips. Put them, together with the butter, into a thick-bottomed casserole dish and let them cook over a moderate heat. Stir the pancetta from time to time – it mustn’t burn – then, when it is golden, lift it out into a bowl, leaving behind the fat in the pan.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and place them in the hot fat in the casserole, so that they fit snugly yet have room to brown. Turn them when the underside is pale gold. When the skin is lighyly honey-colored, lift the chicken out and into the bowl with the pancetta. By now you should have a thin film of goo starting to stick to the pan. This is where much of your flavour will come from.
Pre-heat the oven to 250º. While the chicken is coloring in the pan, peel and roughly chop the onions and carrot, and wash and chop the celery. With the chicken out, add the onions and carrot to the pan and cook slowly, stirring from time to time, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, peeled and thinly sliced, as you go. Return the chicken and pancetta to the pan, stir in the flour and let everything cook for a minute or two before pouring in the cognac, wine and tucking in the herbs. Spoon in ladles of the simmering chicken stock until the entire chicken is covered. Bring to the boil, then, just as it gets there, cover with a lid and place the whole pot in the oven.
Melt the butter in a small pan, add the small peeled onions and then the mushrooms, halving or quartering them if they are too big. Let them cook until they are golden, then add them to the chicken with a seasoning of salt and pepper.
Check the chicken after 1 hour to see how tender it is. It should be soft but not falling from its bones. It will probably take about 2 hours. Lift the chicken out and into a bowl. Turn the heat up under the sauce and let it bubble enthusiastically until it has reduced a little.Return the chicken to the pan and serve with the potatoes. Yum.