Tuesday, August 27

Emeril Lagasse's Coq Au Vin Blanc

Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess who heard about a french dish called Coq Au Vin. It was described as wonderful, mouth-watering, slow cooked,and delicious. But since she couldn't cook well she was intimidated by the french name, and cooking with an entire bottle of wine. So she never made the recipe, and never asked anyone to make it for her. Every once in awhile she heard someone mention the fall of the bone tender chicken dish, and would wistfully declare that she would try it someday. 

2 years passed and the girl fell in love with a handsome prince. He swept her off her feet. It was so romanic. He read her poetry and brought her flowers. It was a perfect match. They both were so in love that they were like a balloon that someone let go at a state fair that was sailing off into the sky. Completely gone. (To the best of my knowledge they are still in love and that balloon is fairly high and enjoying the ride). This handsome prince however, did not drink alcohol, so she put the idea of trying this dish on the back burner. 

Another 2-3 years passed and by that time the couple begin to have the occasional adult drink or a glass of wine together. Things were finally looking up for the princess at trying her hand at the coveted, coq au vin recipe. But the handsome prince favored sweet wines especially white ones. So the earthy, spicy reds that the princess adored were far and few in between. The idea of cooking with them was additionally postponed especially since everyone knew that Coq Au Vin was made with red wine. 

Fast forward 7 more years. So many trials and life had toughened the princess up enough that she began to experiment more and more in the kitchen. She wasn't the shy princess that married the prince almost 10 years ago. She was constantly trying new recipes (even though she had a personal chef).  Then it happened. She found that recipe that had eluded her for so many years, recreated, and made with white wine. She couldn't believe it. The princess was overwhelmed with joy even as she squared her shoulders mentally preparing to take on her long time foe.

Her butler printed the recipe, the kitchen gathered and prepped the ingredients, and soon all was ready for the anticipated moment when she tried the recipe. The princess cooked it to a perfection. The sauce was creamy and thick just like gravy. The veggies were perfectly tender but not mushy. Even the chicken was perfectly tender half way falling off the bone. Her handsome spouse and wonderful son enjoyed very bite! The satisfaction of finally overcoming the recipe, despite so many obstacles, was almost as juicy and flavorful as the leftovers. 

They lived happily ever after. 
The end. 

Moral of the story: 

Don't let the name of a recipe fool you, this is not Shakespeare. The name does not always tell you what you need to know. The name had fooled the princess into thinking it was a complicated french dish. Instead it is a slow cooked, home style stew like, extremely tasty and affordable dish that makes amazing leftovers. It uses affordable bone in chicken, and fun veggies like parsnips (a white, flavor spiked cousin of the sweet orange carrot), and a leek, a veg that looks like a stick with a mild celery/onion flavor. The flavors that are created over slow cooking in your oven will delight perhaps help you taste your "happily ever after". 

Coq Au Vin Blanc with White Rice
Serves 4-5


3 pieces of smoky bacon, raw cut into thin strips 
Note: if you freeze it first or pull it straight from the freezer its easy to cut
1 whole chicken cut up into 8 pieces
3/4 Tbs salt
1 Tbs black pepper
1/2 cup of all purpose flour + 1 1/2 Tbs for later use
1 ziplock bag
1 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, organic 
1 medium fennel bulb, cut into 1/2" inch wedges - rough chopped
1 stalk of leeks (white & light green part only) sliced and rinsed throughally into thick half circles
2 parsnips, washed & cut in med-large chunks (like you would for a stew) *don't peel these
1 stalk of celery, washed and chopped in similar size chunks as the parsnips, include the leaves. Great flavor in there. 
Note: Celery root would be a good addition as it carries  even more celery flavor
 than the stalk does. 
1 1/2 Tbs minced garlic 
one whole bottle of white wine, such as chardonnay. (I used an affordable ca barefoot sauvignon blanc.)
1 huge handful of seedless green grapes - 10 or 12 cleaned, whole  (tastes good i promise)
2 cups of chicken broth, homemade or from the store, low sodium
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Cooked white rice, french bread, egg noodles for serving (I went with white rice - easy pantry ingredient)

*parsnips, white carrots as my son likes to call them, have an amazing amount of b vitamins that you will loose if you peel them like a carrot. They don't look as pretty but you should just wash them good and keep the nurition. 


1. Grab your dutch oven or a very large heavy pot, oven safe, that has a lid. 

2. Slice up your bacon, and start cooking it until its brown beautiful and crispy approx 8-10 minutes.

3. While the bacon is getting crispy, stir it around a little and chop up your veggies, and put the all purpose flour in the ziplock bag. 

4. Line a plate or bowl with paper towels and set aside the bacon after its finished cooking. Keep the bacon fat in the pot, don't pour it out, for creating a base of flavors with the chicken. 

5. Sprinkle each piece of chicken with salt and pepper both sides. 

6. Take 2 pieces at a time and put them into the ziplock bag and coat with them with flour. This was fun to shake the bag around my son asked me if I was playing with the food. My answer left him quite puzzled with I happily said yes with a huge smile on my face. 

7. Once all the pieces are coated in flour brown each piece in the bacon fat. Work in batches with a clean plate ready to put the browned meat on. I had to do 3 batches to make sure to give each piece some room. You want nice brown marks. If you crowd it, you won't get that great color.  Takes 3 minutes each side over medium-high heat.  So about 12-15 minutes to get them all browned depending on the size of pot you are working with. 

8. Pour half of the bacon fat out of the pot and set it aside for later discarding or for another meal. Note: Pancakes cooked the next day cooked in a bit of the bacon fat is amazingly good.

9. Add the butter to the pot and when it begins to bubble drop all your veggies in. Saute the leeks, parsnips, celery, fennel, and garlic. Cook and stir them until the veggies start to become tender approx 6 minutes over medium heat. 

10. Add in the remaining flour (1 1/2 Tbs) Cook and stir for another 2 minutes.

I served it over easy to prepare white rice
11. Add in 1 cup of wine to deglaze and scrape up any bits of flavor from the chicken and bacon from the bottom of the pot. Cook for another 2 minutes - most of the liquid should be evaporating. 

12. Add in the stock, grapes, thyme, bay leaf, black better, remaining wine and bring it to a brisk simmer. Stir and then add back in the chicken and bacon. Nestle the chicken back in. Cover the pot with the lid. Cook in the oven for 2 - 2 1/2 hrs. The chicken should be fully done, tender and the sauce will have thickened up like a gravy.

13. Remove the thyme sprig little branches and the bay leaf, serve the dish over the cooked rice or noodles with bread (optional) for dipping and eating along side. 

*Note: Since most of the meat may be just barely hanging on the bone. I did take a few moments to let it cool so I could take the bone out of my kiddo's dish so it would be easier for him to eat. My husband asked me to do the same for him next time I make the dish. 

So it looks complicated, the name may be complicated, but like the princess found it, its not. It is a lot of little easy steps with wholesome good for you ingredients that will make a lot of full stomachs and happy smiles. This is definitely going to be apart of my family's dinner rotations especially when the weather cools off and I want that warm comforting meal. Now it can a part of yours too. 

From my kitchen to yours!

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