Before this site turns into “SalmonSpotting,” we’re going to take a little break from our fishy fascination and share a meal that has lasted (so far) two days. (It might go as far as tomorrow because there isa teeny bit left in the pot).
Coq au Vin.
Yes. We know. It’s summer where we are. It’s 90 degrees in the shade and we should be eating nothing but margaritas. Why the heck are we making a long(ish) braised, hot, and heavy and hearty stew of chicken and red wine?!
We didn’t have an answer for that when we made it. It just sort of materialized in our minds, which happens when you stare at food porn all day. Even after we ate two bowls of it for dinner last night, we didn’t have a real explanation. It was hot outside. We didn’t really care in the end because Coq au Vin is pretty much delicious.
But the next day, when we shredded the dreaded chicken breast that was leftover — because seriously? no matter how long/well/rubbed-with-bacon-fat you cook chicken breast, it will never taste as awesomely delicious as a chicken thigh — stewed it a little with the leftover “Vin” sauce, and then piled it with its luscious bits of bacon, sweet little pearl onions and mushrooms between two slices of grilled, garlic-rubbed bread, we realized that the Shredded Coq au Vin Sandwich is *the* reason to make Coq au Vin in the dead of summer.
The Shredded Coq au Vin Sandwich! Like a BBQ pulled pork sandwich! But with chicken instead of pork! And red wine sauce instead of BBQ sauce!
Ok, so nothing at all like a BBQ pulled pork sandwich, but you get what we mean.
Also, letting the whole pot cool down after cooking, and then re-heating 12 hours later makes the sauce turn into something you wish your massage therapist would rub into your shoulders.
Make Coq au Vin for dinner tonight. Make the sandwich tomorrow. And probably the next day, if you don’t just eat all the chicken straight from the pot (which we almost did, before we told ourselves we wouldn’t have a blog post if we did that).
Coq au Vin and Next Day’s Pulled Coq au Vin Sandwich Recipe
There are many recipes for Coq au Vin out there and I had every intention of following Julia Child’s recipe, but something about how Nigel Slater feels about Coq au Vin made me follow his. Mostly, the things I changed are the use of butter, which I didn’t at all. I used olive oil. No words, please, about the fact that there is pancetta in the recipe and no draining of any rendered chicken fat.
one large chicken broken down, carcass and giblets reserved for a quick stock
1 onion, 1 carrot and a few peppercorns for the stock
¼ pound pancetta or unsmoked bacon cut into ¼-inch thick lardons
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions
1 large carrot
2 stalks celery
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon flour
1 bottle of red wine (I used a Cotes du Rhone)
4 – 5 small sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound pearl onions, peeled
1 pound small mushrooms, washed and halved
grilled bread to serve
In a large pot, place the chicken carcass, giblets, onion, carrot and peppercorns and cover with enough water to cover everything by 1-inch. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to simmer while you cook the rest of the dish.
Over medium, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add pancetta and cook until golden brown (but not burnt). Remove the pancetta from the pot, but leave the rendered fat in the bottom of the pot.
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and place them in the pancetta fat, skin side down when appropriate. Allow to turn golden, but not brown, turn over and let color the same. It should taken about 5-7 minutes per side. Remove from pot.
While the chicken is searing in the pot, peel and roughly chop the onions and carrot, and wash and chop the celery. Once the chicken has been removed, add the onions and carrot to the pan, lower the heat and cook slowly until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic.
Return the chicken and pancetta to the pan, stir in the flour and cook 1-2 minutes. Pour in bottle of red wine, add herbs, and ladle in simmering chicken stock until the entire chicken is covered. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Cover partially with a lid.
Heat 3 more tablespoons olive oil in a small pan. Add the small peeled onions and mushrooms. Cook until they are golden, then add them to the chicken and wine in the pot.
Simmer for about 40 minutes longer (total should be about an hour). The chicken should be tender, but not falling off the bone.
Remove the chicken to serving plates or platter.
With the chicken out, increase the heat under the post with the sauce and let reduce. The sauce will become slightly thicker, but not “thick.”
Spoon the thickened sauce over the chicken and serve with grilled bread.
To Make a Coq au Vin Sandwich
leftover (or maybe not) Coq au Vin
optional: slices of some delicious, strong, semi-soft French cheese
Begin to heat the leftover Coq au Vin in a pot on the stove. When it becomes “loose” (since it was probably all congealed and solid straight from the refrigerator), pull the leftover pieces of chicken out of the pot. Since it won’t be too hot yet, pull the chicken from the bones, shred, and make sure to discard any other bones you come across.
Add the shredded chicken back to the now-bubbling red wine sauce in the pot. Let it stew until the chicken gets heated through and the sauce thickens.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in pan. Place sliced bread and let “grill” until charred on one side. I only char one side of the bread, the inside, because charred, toasted hard bread on the outside is hard to bite through and makes all sandwich fillings squash out the sides.
Place arugula on one slice of grilled bread. Top with a good amount of the shredded Coq au Vin chicken. It’s really good if bits of the pancetta, carrots, celery, onions and mushrooms gets in there.
Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves, additional salt and pepper (if needed, but I doubt it), and close up with the other slice of bread. Make sure the un-grilled, “softer” sides of the bread are on the outside.