Coq au vin (chicken braised in red wine)

Although the past couple of weeks have been unseasonably warm, it has finally felt like winter where coming out of the shower is like stepping into a fridge. These temperatures are ideal for stews and pots of comfort food. However, recently I’ve felt a bit unmotivated and short of cooking ideas. Thankfully, a very knowledgeable foodie at work suggested a coq au vin. I’ve made a beef bourguignon before and this dish is not that dissimilar with the beef replaced with chicken. However, it is definitely a weekend feat requiring several hours to simmer away until the slightly unctuous meat yields at the touch of a knife.

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Ingredients

  • 1 small chicken
  • 800 ml red wine
  • 2 celery stalks chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 carrot chopped into large chunks
  • Handful of plain flour
  • Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 slice of pancetta or rasher bacon chopped into small pieces
  • Sprig rosemary
  • Couple sprigs of thyme and parsley stalks
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Slightly less than 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 brown onion quartered or 5 pearl onions if you could find them
  • handful of button mushrooms halved
  • Salt and pepper
  • A bit of chopped parsley for garnish.

Roux

  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1.5 tbs plain flour

Steps

  1. Chop up chicken into large pieces, leaving the meat on the bone. When you chop it up follow the joints for clean cuts. There’s another option of deboning the breast and using the carcass for stock.
  2. Bring red wine to simmer and then cool for a bit before placing in the chicken pieces, carrots and celery to marinate. Marinate at least over night then drain reserving the red wine.
  3. Take out the chicken and dry on paper towels before dusting it with flour.
  4. In a pan on medium-high heat, fry off chicken in a bit of oil until browned well.
  5. Deglaze the pan with a little bit of stock and reserve.
  6. In a medium sized pot, on medium-high heat fry off  carrots, celery, pancetta and garlic. Add in the herbs
  7. Place chicken back into pot then add in reserved wine and all the stock.
  8. Season with a bit of salt and pepper
  9. Cover lid and simmer for 2-3 hours.
  10. After finished simmering, take out chicken and continue simmering to reduce liquid.
  11. In a pan on medium-high heat, brown mushrooms and onion.
  12. Add mushrooms and onion to simmering gravy.
  13. In a clean pan, heat butter until foaming stops. Add in flour and mix together to form a paste and cook it through. Cook the roux until it changes to a nutty brown colour.
  14. Add the roux into the gravy and mix together making sure there are no lumps of flour. Keep simmering to let the gravy thicken up.
  15. Add chicken back in to warm up and turn off heat.
  16. Serve up with some mash or beans and garnish with chopped parsley.
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Shandong style chicken

I’ve always thought deboning meat was a finnicky and complicated procedure best left to professionals. However, since learning how to debone a chicken thigh from youtube, I’ve felt empowered…. Seriously, when I laid out that thigh meat with no bones attached I felt like I had performed magic. So naturally, I turned to the whole chicken as my next deboning project. Thankfully, these days you can learn just about anything from youtube and deboning chicken is made easier with videos like this.

Deboned chicken is perfect for a dish like shandong chicken which speeds up the frying time and prevents greasy fingers :P. I’ve had different variations of Shandong chicken in restaurants with some serving the chicken crispy while others steamed the chicken post frying. However, vinegar is the one element which should be present in all recipes. For my recipe, most of the flavour comes from the seasoned batter and the punchy vinegar dressing.

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I ran out of spring onions from the garden for the garnish so the picture looks kind of plain, but I promise it tastes better than it looks.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken boned (I kept the thigh bone in place). Chop into large pieces.
  • 3 tbsp self raising flour
  • 3 tsp spicy bake mix seasons. It looks like this. If you don’t have it don’t worry
  • 3 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 tsp ginger ground
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp oil
  • Water
  • Oil for frying
  • Green onion sliced roughly
  • 1 red chilli sliced roughly

Vinegar sauce

  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • half cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp black vinegar from asian grocery
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt

Steps

  1. Mix together the flour, seasons, five spice, salt, white pepper, ginger ground and sugar.
  2. Add in oil tablespoon by tablespoon until a very thick paste forms
  3. Slowly add in 1 tablespoon of water at a time, mixing it in until the mixture resembles something like a thin pancake batter.
  4. Heat oil in pan/wok at around 2 cm height on medium-high heat.
  5. Pat dry the chicken and coat in batter.
  6. Slowly place chicken into hot oil. Fry in batches
  7. Fry on one side for 4-5 minutes and flip and fry other side for 4-5 minutes. Time of frying depends on cut of chicken. Thigh takes longer than breast.
  8. Drain and place on paper towel. Keep warm in oven
  9. To make sauce, heat a pot with brown sugar until it starts turning into caramel
  10. Add in chicken stock.
  11. Add in soy and vinegar and taste.
  12. Season with salt, taste and pour out into serving bowl.
  13. With a little oil from the frying, quickly fry off green onion and chilli pieces for ~1min. Take out and reserve.
  14. Serve chicken and garnish with green onion and chilli. Spoon as much vinegar dressing onto chicken as preferred.
  15. Enjoy!

Note: You can use the chicken carcass to make a stock and using the fried chicken oil, you can boil some chicken flavoured rice.