Coq au Vin is a classic country recipe that has gained in stature in the past few decades to become one of the most popular French dishes. Full of great flavor, it makes a great family meal. Serve with Mashed Potatoes or polenta.
- 2 small chickens (2 to 2 1/2 pounds each)
- 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
- salt, to taste
- freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- freshly-grated nutmeg, to taste
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons Brandy; warmed
- 2 Cups dry red wine, preferably Burgundy or Pinot Noir
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 24 fresh Cremini or white button mushrooms, brushed clean and stem ends trimmed
- 16 pearl onions
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Working with 1 chicken at a time, lay the bird, breast-side down, on a work surface. Using poultry shears, cut along both sides of the backbone.
- Remove the backbone and cut the chicken into quarters. Rinse and pat dry.
- Spread the flour on a plate and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Dip the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess. Set aside.
- In a large fry pan over high heat, warm 2 tablespoons each of the butter and olive oil. Working in batches, add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides, about 15 minutes.
- As the pieces are browned, transfer them to a heavy pot. When all the pieces have been browned, pour the brandy over them and ignite with a long match taking care that the flames will not contact anything flammable, such as curtains or paper.
- Let the flame die out, then add the wine, garlic, thyme and bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken pieces are opaque throughout, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a saute pan over high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the mushrooms and saute until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and rinse out the pan.
- Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pearl onions and boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, cut off the root ends and slip off the skins. Cut a shallow X in the root ends. Return the onions to the saucepan, add water just to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially and cook until tender but firm, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well.
- In the rinsed saute pan over high heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the onions and sugar and saute until lightly caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- About 10 minutes before the chicken is done, add the mushrooms and onions to the pot and continue cooking as directed. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer to a warmed platter, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.
Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 4 Vegetable; 2 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
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