When I think of French cuisines, especially meat dishes, meat/poultry braised in dry wine seasoned with thyme is what comes to mind. That is what coq au vin is. Coq au vin translates as chicken/rooster with wine in French. I particularly savor chicken and meat dishes cooked in wine. Coq au vin is chicken cooked with wine, mushrooms, onions, and thyme. I’ve seen bacon used a lot in this dish for a smokey edge. Smoked turkey is a Kosher alternative but I’ve used neither ingredients but the option is available for your liking. Like in a lot of French dishes, coq au vin obtains its richness from butter or lard. This original recipe that I borrowed from has been modified, sped up, and simplified to a healthier version. Rather than coating each whole chicken with margarine, I lightly brushed each piece with olive oil. The oil will give the chicken skin a crispy texture. You can enjoy this French chicken dish without the extra fat content. The bay leafs lend a wonderful taste to this dish. Although chicken breasts are a healthier option, whole chicken legs are recommended as they emerge exceptionally moist and tender after they have been cooked for a long period of time. I’ve decided to oven bake this chicken rather than stewing it. I don’t find it as necessary to stew food in the Spring/Summer time and a cold chicken dish won’t cut it for me. Simplicity and elegance is key to an eye pleasing and great tasting dish. I firmly hold by those words. Coq au vin serves well with whole grain rice and a bit of greens. This recipe may also work well with turkey accompanied with a bit of barley. I will save the slow cooking for when the season is necessary. Plus the Summer heat sometimes wears my patience thin, especially when I’m hungry.
For this recipe, you will need:
- 4 pieces of whole chicken legs
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced (I’m never too generous with my mushroom usage)
- 1 cup of red dry wine
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 5 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
- 3 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper for taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place in prepared pan. Arrange onions and mushrooms around the chicken. Pour wine over chicken and vegetables. Sprinkle with parsley, thyme and pepper. Lightly brush each chicken with olive oil. Tuck bay leaves into wine mixture at each side of the chicken. Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove bay leafs from pan. Serve hot.
Yields 4 servings