Jan 8, 2008

Coq au Vin

So we set out to make this classic Coq au Vin recipe in the latest issue of Saveur. We received the magazine as a Christmas present so figured we'd get started on "using" it right away. Plus, we wanted to find out what all the fuss is about regarding this dish. Just "coq au vin" sounds fancy and exotic, right? Could regulars like us pull it off? Well, sure. It's a bit involved but certainly not out of reach, especially with two of us working on it.

Now, to be fair to the recipe/tradition/the French, we didn't follow this recipe to the letter. Two alterations were made:

1. We didn't have pearl onions so just used largish chunks of onions with the bacon, mushroom, onion trio. And this was fine. I just love onions in any and all forms.

2. We didn't have time to marinate the chicken overnight. The best we could do was about 4 hours. I suppose the flavors might have been more intense had we marinated overnight but, come on. Even a few hours is alot of marinating. I've had flavorful chicken before that wasn't marinated at all. And I've had moist chicken that wasn't marinated. Besides, the color of the chicken after marinating in wine is simply weird. Purple.

Overall, I don't think the results were worth the effort. I could have made several dishes and had ready-to-go food in the fridge for a week in the same amount of time it took to prep, wait, and finish the Coq au Vin.

And the sauce that remains (to be poured over the finished dish) was too greasy for our liking. Though neither of us used the sauce as intended, this last critique is mine alone. I've got some issues with chicken over the years, gradually getting a bit more grossed out by it. I don't buy it, don't handle it, don't care for it re-heated. I don't eat enough meat to care if I gradually rid my life of chicken but it's more about the grease that's left behind on everything when you make a chicken. It's just everywhere, on the pans, the utensils, the towels. it seems no matter how careful you are, stuff is greasy.

OK, so there it is. I guess I'm unappreciative (about food this is certainly NOT true) but Coq au Vin simply isn't worth it. I understand that it was once a method for dealing with tough chicken but those days are long gone. You know, simply roasting a modern chicken stuffed with herbs is a simple and very delicious way to enjoy chicken.

All was not a total loss. The Coq au Vin resulted in a total of three separate recipes: the initial dish, chicken salad (recipe to follow), and a hearty bean soup (recipe to follow).

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