Six More Weeks of Winter: Thanks Phil.

Groundhog's Day is my least favorite holiday. You don't get the day off. There are no celebratory foods. And Phil rarely gives us good news. I don't need some ugly rodent reminding me that I have six more weeks of this. Trust me Phil, I KNOW.  Does this look like Spring's around the corner? That is Hudson River my friend. Now go back in your hole.

I will say, Phil's got one thing going for him - he gets to hibernate this misery away. We only get to hibernate on the weekends. Unless you're my dog, who dislikes cold more than anyone I know and refuses to come out from under the covers on days like this. This weekend was an 'under-the-covers-on-the-couch-with-something-warm-and-a-movie' kind of weekend. And I did just that. Luckily I hit up a sale Saturday and scored  a Le Creuset french oven and two small ramekin - perfect for the Coq Au Vin I planned for Sunday's dinner. 
Coq au Vin literally means 'chicken in wine'. It's a warm, hearty chicken dish that's simmered in bacon fat and slow cooked with onions, mushrooms and carrots. Being a French dish, I channeled my inner Julia Child and used her recipe as a guide. I chose Cognac instead of Brandy, as I had some leftover from an apres ski party. I also added some baby carrots that needed to be used up, which added a burst of color. The dish was rich, warm and aromatic. I served it in the ramekins with hunks of crusty bread for dipping and gigantic glasses of a French Burgundy. Bon Appetit!

Coq Au Vin: (adapted from Julia Child)
  • 2 cups bacon (thick cut is best)
  • 2 1/2 to 3lb chicken (quartered)
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp herbs de provence
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme (or 5 fresh sprigs)
  • 3 cups red wine (Burgundy is best, Pinot Noir is cheaper)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Beurre manie, for the sauce (1 1/2 tbs. each flour softened butter blended to a paste)
  • Fresh parsley sprigs for garnish (roughly chopped or whole)
  • 1/3 cup good brandy or cognac (optional)
  • Dozen pearl onions 
  • 3 cups fresh mushrooms, trimmed, quartered if large.
  • Dozen baby carrots or two large carrots peeled and roughly chopped
  • Matches 
  1. Place bacon in dutch oven or large, heavy skillet over medium heat and cook until browned and crispy. Remove and place on paper towels.
  2. Wash and dry the chicken pieces. Flour, salt, pepper and brown in the bacon fat on both sides. Do this in batches if all won't make contact with the surface. About 3 minutes a side.
  3. Add onions, garlic, mushrooms, carrots and saute for 2 minutes to soften the vegetables. I had to remove the chicken from the dish briefly to let them have some pan space.
  4. With chicken and vegetables back in the dish, turn off flame and add the cognac. Light a match and flambe the brandy/cognac to burn off the alcohol. Feel cool. I did.
  5. When the flames die down (about 1 minute), add the wine and chicken broth.
  6. Add the herbs. Stir to mix.
  7. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 1hr.
  8. Remove cover and allow sauce to reduce for about 15 minutes, adding the Beurre manie slowly, to thicken the sauce.
  9. Garnish with parsley and crispy bacon.
  10. Get back under the covers!!

Stay warm,
The Heat


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