One of my goals returning from travelling was to cook more. I decided this would be a ‘homecoming’ goal when I attempted to make an mushroom omelette in Colombia on a hangover day and it turned into some horribly grey scrambled eggs. For some reason I decided to eat these anyway, a decision I spent the rest of the day regretting.
Past mistakes aside, I have decided to use cooking as a new form of therapy. It encourages mindfulness (a topic I have studied intently on my travels) and food makes people happy, and if there’s one thing we all strive for, it’s happiness.
As most people probably know due to my frequent ranting, chicken is not my favorite meat. And the principle ingredient of Coq Au Vin is chicken. Before I tested this recipe, my view on anyone who decided to have ‘just the chicken’ at a restaurant, was that they should be force-fed a medium rare steak. Ok, that was a joke. But my opinion was, chicken sucks. The only meat worse than chicken is that weirdly pink sandwich ham which for some reason is always disconcertingly wet.
Until this Coq Au Vin recipe. It’s the best of the best of chicken recipes. For this, I enlisted the help of Matt, because he can actually cook a lot better than me, but, whilst sitting back and watching him do all the work, I realised it isn’t actually that difficult, and next time I might give it a go by myself.
I would probably eat this everyday for the rest of my life were it not for the sheer amount of onions needing to be chopped, because there is no one in the world who has enough waterproof mascara to cope with that many tears.
Treat your mum and dad, or just make a giant batch and eat it everyday for two weeks. It’s versatile, it’s delicious and it’s (relatively) simple to make.
Time Needed – Approx 2 hours (STOP PANICKING RIGHT NOW, you are NOT cooking for this whole time, you can still watch Game Of Thrones
Serves – 4 hungry family members
Nutritional Information – Why do you care? Move on. It doesn’t matter
You Will Need
Chicken legs and thighs. One of each for each person eating is a good start.
A bottle of cheap red wine. Seriously, get the cheap stuff (ours was £3.90 from Morrisons)
Brandy or cognac if you’re feeling fancy
5 rashers of smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
8 onions, chopped as small as you can be bothered
A packed of mushrooms (any kind will do), quartered
4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
A vegetable stock cube
2 tablespoons of plain flour (may not be needed)
3 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper
- Fry all your bacon in the olive oil in a big old frying pan. It should be crispy and caramelized. Don’t be scared of burning it, go wild
- When that’s done, transfer the bacon into a huge saucepan. If you don’t have a huge one, a medium sized one will do just fine
- Season all your chicken with salt and pepper, and brown in the frying pan which the bacon was just in. Don’t worry about cooking it the whole way through, we’ve still got an hour and fifty minutes left to blanch away that salmonella.
- Once that is nicely browned, transfer that to the pan with the bacon
- Next, plonk all your mushrooms and onions into the frying pan and slowly fry until they look like cooked onions and mushrooms should look. Add the garlic towards the end
- Then put all of that into your huge saucepan
- Pop it on the heat, then add the whole bottle of wine, a glug of brandy or cognac if you have it, chopped carrots, bay leaves, and oregano
- Bring to the boil
- Add the vegetable stock cube
- Now play the waiting game. I left it simmering for about an hour which is enough time for the wine to reduce down and the flavours to really come through, but not enough time for you and your family to die of malnutrition
- Check on it regularly to monitor the consistency of the sauce. See FAQs down below.
- Transfer to a beautiful serving dish. The carrots should be soft, the chicken should be falling off the bone, and everything should be right in the world
- Served with crushed new potatoes and something green
My sauce is too thin! What shall I do?
Do not panic. Fry 2 tablespoons of flour in some butter until it makes a paste which looks a bit like cookie dough (note: it does not taste like cookie dough), and then add that.
Alternatively just leave it simmering for longer and grab yourself a snack in the meantime
My sauce is too thick! What shall I do?
Add more wine! If you don’t have any wine then add some water and some more stock
It tastes disgusting! What shall I do?
You have clearly done something very very wrong because it is impossible for this to taste disgusting. In this rare situation I would recommend drinking a couple of glasses of wine and then it might taste better. If not, you’re on your own