I have loved Coq Au Vin since I discovered it in Paris, many years ago. It is the first dish I cook when the fall weather begins, and continue to make variations all through the winter. A great make ahead dish, as it is better the second day, so you can just warm it up when you dinner guest arrive and spend your evening with your friends and not in the kitchen.
- 10 Ounces shallots, or 2 med yellow onions, sliced or chopped
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, more if needed
- 6 Ounces salt cold or pancetta in 1-inch cubes
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 4 Cups mixed wild mushrooms
- 3½ lbs. Free-range organic chicken, cut into 10 pieces
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ Cup brandy
- 1 Bottle Burgundy or other rich red wine
- 1 Bouquet garni (one 3-inch piece leek, one 3-inch piece celery, 3 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme and a bay leaf, tied in cheesecloth)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Bring a pot of water to a boil; pour water over shallots, then peel, and set them aside. Place a large casserole over medium heat and add olive oil and salt pork. Sauté until pork begins to crisp, 3-4 minutes, then add shallots. Continue to sauté until shallots are lightly browned, about 10 minutes more. Transfer mixture to a large bowl with a slotted spoon; set aside the unwashed casserole.
Place a medium skillet over low heat, and melt butter. Add garlic and mushrooms, and sauté until mushrooms have softened. Add mushroom mixture with slotted spoon to salt pork and shallots.
Place chicken pieces in a large freezer bag or a large bowl. Add flour, and toss until chicken is coated. Return casserole to medium-high heat. When pan is hot, brown chicken in batches, adding oil if pan looks dry. Do not crowd pan, and turn pieces as needed until well browned on all sides. Transfer chicken to a plate, and set aside.
Shake any excess flour from freezer bag into casserole, and scrape bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour in brandy, then stand back and carefully ignite with a long match. Slowly stir in the whole bottle and Burgundy. Bring liquid to a boil. Return chicken to casserole, and add salt pork, shallots and mushrooms. Add bouquet garni, and stir to mix well. When liquid returns to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Flavor improves if cooled and refrigerated overnight; reheat thoroughly before serving.