Magnus has had a strong strong urge to make coq au vin for a while now. He found a place in town that sells good quality capons as well, so it was going to be a full on authentic coq au vin...I was willing to supply the wine (my Dad makes it and keeps me well stocked) and space as a good excuse to get together over the holidays and make yummy food.
I admit to knowing little about coq au vin...I thought it involved cocoa somehow and was completely uninterested until I heard it was mainly poultry slow cooked in wine and spices. THAT I can get into :)
So, yeah...Coq au vin day was the 27th. Magnus arrived, with capon and we began the elaborate procedure...here's what we did:
First off, the ingredients:
~1 1/2 bottles of red wine (thanks Dad!)
15 baby carrots
1 white onion coarsely chopped
12 pearl onions
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
~ 1/2 c walnuts, crushed up
4 cloves garlic, crushed
~1 T thyme (called for 6 sprigs fresh but we couldn't get any)
1 bay leaf
~1 T sage (again...no fresh stuff to be found)
1 25 Lb capon, cut up into 8 pieces.
5 T butter
12 ounces large mushrooms, quartered (mix of oyster, crimini and white)
4 bacon slices, chopped + 6 cubes of prosciutto fat
1 1/2 cups Port (again, thanks Dad!)
2 T flour and some cornstarch
While marinading the bird in the wine, we cooked the pearl onions in pot of boiling salted water 3 minutes, then drained and peeled them. Then we melted 3 tablespoons butter and added the pearl onions, some garlic and mushrooms and sauteed until mushrooms were tender, about 10 minutes, and put them aside. In the same pan, we then sauteed the bacon and fat cubes and sauteed until brown and crisp and put them on paper towel to drain. We then sauteed the walnuts and celery for ~ 5 minutes in come of the bacon fat and set aside, saving a bit of the bacon fat. (mmm...bacon fat)
We transferred the bird with tongs onto a cookie sheet and brushed with the bacon fat and added salt and pepper and reserved the marinade. We then broiled the bird, flipping half way through, until it was all brown and crispy on the outside, instead of trying to brown it in a skillet on the stove...there was just too much bird! We then put the marinade into a dutch oven and then brought it to a boil, adding the bird to it, along with the white onion, carrots and and most of the walnuts and celery and garlic. We reduced the heat and simmered uncovered until chicken is very tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes (turning the pieces occasionally).
We removed the meat and saved the cooking liquid, setting the bird aside. We strained out the veggies in there and then returned the liquid to pot, added the port and brought it to a boil. We mixed melted butter and flour together and added it to the liquid to thicken it (and used a bit of cornstarch and water too to get it a bit thicker). We let it boil lightly over medium heat for ~ 15 minutes until the sauce thickened. Then we returned the capon to the pot and added the pearl onions and sauteed mushrooms, bacon and celery and walnuts. We let it all simmer until it was heated through and the flavour had a chance to blend together - about 15 minutes.
While this was going on, I had the bread robot making some cheddar beer bread. I also steamed up some asparagus, and made some nicely oven roasted baby potatoes with peppers, onions and some fresh herbs to go with it...and viola!It was a lot of work...I personally would modify it and use chicken breasts and more herbs, but for a first jaunt into french obscure cuisine - I gotta say. This was top notch.
Yes...well done everyone. :)