Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cocky Coq au Vin

 So it's not often that I go all-out and make something so swanky for just little ol' me.  But I had the remainder of a bottle of Arabella Shiraz that needed taking care of, as well as a package of succulent boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  I swear by Rachel Ray's 30-minute version of this French classic, hold the mushrooms... honestly, I'm sure the classic slow-cooked version has its merits, but it's hard to see them in this super-easy-and-quick-and-delicious version.  I must say, I'm quite proud of myself for pulling off this presentation, hence the "cocky" in the title.

Quick Coq au Vin
Modified from "30-Minute Meals" by Rachel Ray
Makes 4 servings
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts*
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (*I used eight thighs total for this, no white meat)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion (i.e. vidalia), sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups good red wine
  • 1 can (14 oz. or 1 3/4 cups) low-fat chicken broth (I used the stock left over from Skyooking)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems and chopped (since fresh herbs hate me, I used dried)
  • 3-4 Tbsp tomato paste
  1. Cut breasts and thighs into large chunks (I left my thighs whole, just sort of flattened them out by "unrolling" them). Mix the flour, salt and pepper on a plate and use it to dust the pieces of chicken.  Set aside. 
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil.  Brown and crisp the chicken pieces by cooking for 4-5 minutes per side.  Remove the chicken and add the onions and garlic.  Stir every few minutes, cooking down for five minutes or so.
  3. Add the red wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up all the tasty brown bits from the chicken.  Add the chicken broth.  Return the par-cooked chicken to the pan and add the thyme.
  4. Bring to a boil and stir in the tomato paste.  Continue at a low boil, allowing the stock and wine to cook down and thicken for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve, either alongside potatoes and asparagus as I did, or with giant "croutons" made from slices of French baguette, toasted under the broiler, then brushed with garlic-infused olive oil (just microwave some olive oil with a crushed clove of garlic for about thirty seconds to make this).  They're very good for sopping up the juices!
You can see Miss Chief in the background, wanting in on this poultry action.
Who DOESN'T love these gorgeous purple baby potatoes?!
The juices made a very nice "drizzle" for the schmancy white plate
Sometimes I get little twinges of loneliness, looking down at a plate like this and wishing that my romantic partner were around to share it with me.  Then I remind myself... due to a rather dry relationship with all manner of fowl in his formative years, Hubs would gladly pass on even a super-moist and delicious offering such as this.  So I guess I'd better get my chicken kicks in before he moves out here!!

Contemplating how I'll manage to cook for my (hopefully long and happy) married life without using poultry of some sort,

Table for one... a little lonely, perhaps, but quite pretty and enjoyable overall.

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