Coq Au Vin(ish)

Recently I was eager to try something new in the kitchen; but it had to fit a certain bill.
It needed to be a comfort food.
It needed to feed a crowd.
And it couldn't break the grocery budget.

I scoured the internet looking for something that did all three, and after much studying and a bit of tweaking, I combined more than one or two recipes and came up with my version of Coq Au Vin - ish.
The "ish" allows me some creative license, and boy am I glad I played around with it a bit!  My kids have declared it one of my best dishes YET and there was some licking of bowls and asking for leftovers.
Needless to say, I'm a sucker for kid-love and I make the dish often, texting out promises of Coq Au Vin-ish anytime I feel lonely.
Yes, I'm shameless; but I don't feel the least bit guilty.
Combined, I spent approximately 62 labor hours bringing my four people into the world, and I feel I have earned the right to bribe and manipulate.
Ok, so let's get started, shall we?
I am willing to teach you my ways, as I'm sure you have people in your life too; and it never hurts to have a little something up your sleeve.

So, gather the following ingredients; and let's be very happy in the kitchen today!
(PS...printable below)

2 - 3 lbs boneless, skinless Chicken - trim some of the fat (I prefer thighs.  They have better flavor and are more likely to stay tender; however, this time I only had breasts, so you will see breasts in the pictures. Chicken breasts.  Sorry. NOT that kind of post.)
1 package bacon (the thicker the yummier, but thin is fine too)
1-2 bunches celery (think I used about 1 and a 1/2 bunches)
1 lb carrots
1 large yellow onion
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch parsley
Juice of 3 lemons
Approx 24 oz red wine
32 oz Unsalted Chicken Stock
Salt to taste (I use a blend of Kosher & Pink Himalayan)
Pepper to taste
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp ground thyme (OR 2 - 3 sprigs fresh thyme)
2-4 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 tsp Sriracha
1 quart half & half
Approx 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
Hot buttered egg noodles

You want to pay very close attention, because I don't have all of the photos; however, I think we have enough to get the point across.

Here we go!

I start with all the chopping/dicing/slicing and all things that involve a cutting board.

Chicken (I like to leave it in larger pieces to begin with because it is easier to sear; however, I do trim off some of the fat, but not all.
Bacon - cut into pieces
Celery - cut into large chunks
Carrots - cut into discs
yellow onion - cut into large chunks
Cilantro - rough chop
Parsley - rough chop
Lemons - slice in half

Set all ingredients off to the side so that you can brown in sections.
Begin by browning the bacon in a large dutch oven or pan.

You don't want it to brown all the way to crisp, you are basically just rendering the fat.
Once the bacon is finished, remove it to a large roaster oven.  The remaining grease will provide a perfect place to sear the chicken; however, if there is an absolute lake of grease, feel free to discard some before adding chicken to the pan.

Before we start searing the chicken, sprinkle a little salt & pepper into the pan.  Probably about a half teaspoon of each.
Remember, we are just wanting to sear the outside of the chicken.
It shouldn't take more than a minute per side, and I like to use tongs so that I can maneuver the chicken around, getting all sides.

Once you have started searing the first side, sprinkle the raw side with a little more salt & pepper.
I also like to squeeze a bit of lemon on the chicken while it is searing.  (sorry no pic)
See to it that all sides are seared; and move the chicken from the pan to the roaster oven to sit.
You will probably have to work in batches.
Here you can see that I still need to sear a little on the inside of one of the pieces.

Once all of the chicken is seared, most of the bacon grease should be gone.  Any remaining grease can be discarded, AFTER removing any wonderful bits with a spoon.  Pour those bits over the chicken and bacon in the roaster.

There may still be a few beautiful pieces of browned chicken & bacon in the bottom of the pan.
Use a little red wine to de-glaze the pan, and just savor that smell.
You can be very happy that you are in the kitchen today.
I know I am.
Back to work...pour all liquid, wine, & scrapings over chicken and bacon in roaster oven.

And it's time for the veggies!
If pan seems dry, add a Tbsp or two of EVOO, and it wouldn't hurt to salt & pepper it just a bit.

Ok, here is where the pictures aren't completely honest.

See below.

Does this look like only veggies to you?

Me either.  And it is a complicated story.
The bottom line is this.
You want to sear the veggies for a few minutes so that you can get some good color and flavor out of them.
Feel free to toss the raw veggies (carrots, celery, and onion) into the hot pan in batches, searing each batch for approximately 3 - 5 minutes, and then returning the seared veggies to the same roaster oven the chicken and bacon are chilling out in.
you can do what I did which was cut the (slightly cooled) chicken into halves & thirds and then throw some of them back into the pan with the veggies for a little extra searing (all in batches).
Hopefully I am making sense.

Either way you go, squeeze a little more lemon juice into the mix while searing, moving all to the roaster once searing is complete.
Add the chopped parsley & cilantro, the thyme, and a generous amount of salt & pepper to the mixture ( I would start with a Tbsp of each, you can always add more after the cooking is complete).

Now for the broth.

Because you will probably have some more seared goodness on the bottom of the pan, take the rest of the red wine and use it to de-glaze all that goodness.
Add the unsalted chicken stock, and the tomato paste; and allow the mixture to come to a boil.

Boil for about 3-5 minutes so that you get a nice reduction.

Once it has boiled for a few minutes, pour the broth over the mixture in the oven roaster, and stir.
It should look something like this.

Toss in a 1/4 stick of unsalted butter, the remaining lemon juice, and Sriracha.  Cover with lid, and allow to cook for approximately 2-3 hours. forward 3 hours.
The chicken should be cooked through.
Check a few pieces to be certain all pink is gone, or be extra cautious and use a meat thermometer on some of the thicker pieces (remove them from the pan, and test for an inner temperature of at least 165).

It is time to add the best part.
The cream.

Hopefully you remembered to purchase that quart of half & half because it absolutely makes this dish.

Start with half of the quart, allow to heat for  a few minutes, taste and add more if needed.

This is also a good time to taste & adjust with a little extra salt & pepper.
Once you have it just like you like it, allow to heat all the way through, and get ready to eat.

You are about to be very, very happy, my friends.

Pour this amazing mixture over a bowl of hot-buttered egg noodles and be content.

And don't forget to enjoy with beautiful people because this meal is best when shared.

Until we cook again!

Click HERE for printable.


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