Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dinner for Two (Part 2) - Coq au Vin Blanc

Continuing with the dinner I prepared on Valentine's Day after the first course of a "modified ravioli" it's a more classic main course dish of Coq au Vin. I wanted to do this dish partly because I got some white wines sitting on the shelf that I need to get rid of - those bottles that are proper enough to drink but I would rather use it for cooking instead. And I wanted to make a chicken dish - something I felt like I haven't done for a while. And this would work well with the Champagne I intended to open. So the Coq au Vin Blanc seems like a natural conclusion based on that chain of thoughts.

Most Coq au Vin recipe uses red wine, but cooking in white wine and cream created a totally different dish that are just as good, if not better, with the chicken flavor coming out easier through the lighter, creamier sauce. This is classic French but most ingredients (with the exception of wine) were locally sourced and available in normal neighborhood supermarkets. I was making it for 2 persons so I simply bought 2 chicken legs for easier serving, but you could use the half or whole fresh chicken for a bigger party. (and use a Dutch Oven to cook instead of a shallow braiser like I did)

Recipe: Coq au Vin Blanc

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 2 Chicken Legs
  • 1 + 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped onions (or 1 cup of regular yellow onions and 1/2 cup of pearl onions)
  • 1 + 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped carrots
  • 1 cup of coarsely chopped celery
  • 1 cup of mushrooms (I used oyster mushrooms but you could use anything from cep, shiitake or shimeji)
  • 1/2 cup of chopped shallots
  • 20 sugar snap peas
  • 1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1/2 bottle of dry white wine (chardonnay or riesling works best)
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of cream
  • 2 tablespoon of butter
  • 2 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
  • 120g of pancetta, diced
  • olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Steps:

1. Rinse the chicken, dry with kitchen towel and season with salt and pepper.
2. In a cast-iron braiser pan over medium heat (I used a tagine instead), fry the pancetta until it turned golden and a little burnt on the outside. Keep the fat in the pan but remove the pancetta and set aside.
2. Add olive oil to the pan, put the chicken legs in and brown them on both sides. Remove the chicken legs from the pan and set aside.
3. In the same pan (now emptied), add the onions, celery, carrot (1 cup each), shallot and mushrooms. Sauteed them until they were softened. Remove mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
4. Put the chicken legs and pancetta back to the pan, pour in the wine and add the chicken broth and thyme sprigs. Bring the mixture to a light simmer, turn all the way down to the lowest heat setting, cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours. Check and stir the content occasionally to make sure it doesn't burn and that there's enough liquid - add more water if necessary but not by much. We want the liquid to be slowly reduced.
5. At the end of the 2 hours, check to see if the chicken legs are tender. Transfer the chicken legs into a dish and cover. Strain and discard the rest of the vegetables and add cream to the cooking liquid. Turn up the heat to medium high and cook until the sauce was slightly thickened - about 15-20 minutes.
6. Make a roux by heating butter in a small frying pan and mix in the flour thoroughly. Keep heating in medium setting until the mixture turned into slightly brown. Add into the sauce and mix completely until it reaches the consistency of coating the back of a wooden spoon. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Cover and set aside.
7. Rinse the snap peas in running water and remove the tips on each end of the pods. Blanch snap peas in boiling water in a saucepan for 2 minutes, then put in an ice water bath. Use a pair of scissors to cut open the pod so the peas were exposed. Set aside.
8. In a separate pan, sauteed a new batch of onions and carrots until softened. Add the onions, carrots, mushrooms and the chicken legs back to the pan, cook for a few minutes to heat through, then serve by spooning first the vegetables into 2 serving plates, then place the chicken leg on top along with the snap peas, and spoon the sauce on everything.
9. Serve with egg noodles, mashed potatoes or a loaf of country bread.


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