When a bunch of us got together to celebrate Bastille day this year, we decided to make it a grandiose affair. Also known as La Fête Nationale or the French National Day. Whilst the date (July 14th) coincides with the storming of Bastille, the French National Day instead, commemorates the short lived constitutional monarchy in 1790.
For this occasion, each one of us would attempt a classic French recipe to showcase and share with the gang. The Boy and I couldn’t decide on what we would bring to the party. So we made a dish each (naturally). The Boy cooked the savoury dish and I cooked the dessert.
Here is the first of the two dishes we brought to the party.
Slow Cooked Coq Au Vin otherwise known as slow cooked chicken in wine 😛 The twist with this recipe is the use of Beaujolais instead of the usual Burgundy wine (which is the region where this dish is said to have originated from). The other ingredient we have used in lieu of a rooster (or cockerel) is the chicken.
Legend has it that Julius Caesar’s cook came up with the very first coq au vin dish when the Gaul’s presented JC with a rooster. In an attempt to break down the tough bird, the cook braised the rooster with Burgundy wine before serving it to JC. Though there are no concrete evidence that the legend is true, it makes for a good telling 🙂
Slow Cooked Coq Au Vin Recipe
- 1 whole Chicken (chopped into 8 pieces - thigh, drumstick, breast & wings)
- 200 g of Speck (cut into batons)
- 2 cups (500ml) of Beaujolais Red Wine
- 1/2 cup (125ml) of Semi-Sweet Sherry Wine
- 2 1/2 cups (625ml) of Chicken Stock
- 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp of Tomato Paste
- 2 stalks of Carrot (chop into 5 cm pieces)
- 12-15 Pickled Pearl Onions (from a jar)
- 200 g of Button Mushrooms (trimmed & halved)
- 4 cloves of Garlic (chopped finely)
- 1 large Onion (chopped finely)
- 4 sprigs of Thyme
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Parsley Leaf (chopped finely for garnishing)
- 1 Tbsp of Plain Flour
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Brining Solution (1/4 cup of Salt to 2 litres of Cold Water - optional)
- We brined the chicken pieces overnight (6-8 hours) in the refrigerator. This step can be skipped if you do not have the time.
- Wash off the brine from the chicken pieces under running tap water and pat dry.
- In a large pan, heat olive oil on medium heat and fry the speck batons until most of the fat is rendered. Transfer speck to a bowl.
- In the same pan (on medium heat), brown the thighs, drumsticks and wings on both sides. This should take about 3-4 minutes each side. Remove chicken pieces.
- Place chicken breast (skin side down) in the same pan and fry for 2 minutes and remove.
- Transfer fat from the pan into a separate bowl (for the slurry) but keep at least 2 tablespoons of it in the pan.
- Return the pan to medium heat and add chopped onion. When the onion starts to soften, add in garlic and cook until fragrant (careful not to burn the garlic).
- Pour in the Sweet Sherry and start deglazing the pan by scrapping off the fond at the bottom of the pan.
- Once most of the liquid is evaporated, add in the Beaujolais wine, chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf, carrots and tomato paste. Simmer (low heat) for 5 minutes.
- Place chicken pieces and speck into the slow cooker. Pour contents from the pan into the slow cooker, making sure that the chicken pieces are covered with liquid (add more chicken stock if required).
- Cook on low for 4-5 hours (or until meat is very tender). Add in pickled pearl onions and mushrooms at the last hour.
- Transfer chicken pieces, speck, pickled onions and mushroom from the slow cooker to a dish and cover to keep warm.
- Strain your stock from the slow cooker through a fine sieve and discard any herbs, chopped onions & garlic.
- Heat the stock in a pan (on medium heat) to reduce it a bit. Using the fat kept earlier, mix 2 tablespoons of fat with 1 tablespoon of flour to make your slurry.
- Add 1 teaspoon of slurry at a time and stir into the sauce. Do this until you are happy with the thickness of the sauce.
- If you prefer a thicker sauce, keep adding more slurry but keep in mind that you might not have enough sauce to cover the chicken.
- Once the sauce is done, return the chicken pieces and other ingredients into the pan to reheat and coat with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with chopped parsley.
Everything in this dish was succulent, tender and bursting with flavour.
At the end of the night, there weren’t much leftovers. That, my friends, is an amazing feat considering we had close to 15 dishes between the 13 of us 🙂