Monday, September 27, 2010

And now we go WAAAAY old school, at my OLDer sisters request

What better way to start a post than with a big, slightly disturbing, and classically overly enthusiastic picture of the one & only Julia Child. There are many things that we could poke a little fun at her about, but you can't deny her passion for all things culinary (as long as they were french anyway). As a quick side note, that Julie & Julia movie was godawful. First of all, it should have been called Julie stalking Julia, and secondly, if my friend invited me over to her house and was dressed up as JC, including impersonating her accent, I'd probably have her mental stability checked.

Enough of all that. The reason we're starting this post off with a Julia Child reference is that my sister called asking me for a recipe that she can make for my parents when they come to visit. My dad is a slightly picky in if he can identify it as a vegetable, no go. My mom is thankfully gastronomically adventurous, and also the reason I fell in love with cooking, so she's easy. I decided to pull one out of the archives for her because, a)my dad will actually eat it & b)you make this a day ahead, so it leaves her time to frantically make sure there are no crumbs in her silverware drawer and hide the non-crystal wine glasses in preparation for my mother entering her humble abode. This is just a little friendly teasing of both of them, and their very close, but sometimes nitpicky relationship. So without further ado, from the archives, here is one of Julia Child herselfs' favorite recipes:

COQ AU VIN - for those of you who ne parle pas le francais, this literally means rooster in wine, but we will be going for the ultra modern version using chicken thighs. It's actually hard to find a rooster nowadays, especially one from Bresse, which most authentique recipes call for.
That being said, it is a fairly simple, utterly comforting dish, which is best eaten the second day after all the flavors have gotten together. HERE GOES..............

4 chicken leg and thighs, skin-on - if you can only find thighs, make it 8
8 shallots, peeled, but left whole
2 ripe tomatoes
1/2 lb mushrooms, simple buttons work fine
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled & diced
2 stalks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
1 bunch fresh thyme, left whole
2 bay leaves
6 oz bacon, or fatback, cut into lardons - Noush, you cannot leave this out
1/4 c AP flour
1/2 stick butter
1 bottle of red wine, or if you follow the JC recipe 2 bottles, one to drink, one to cook
2 1/2 cups, roasted chicken stock, this should be from your stash of homemade stock in the freezer --- check early august post
S & P to taste

1)Place bacon in cold pot(this pot should be oven proof, and large enough to fit all the ingredients in it at once) over medium heat and render out fat. Once bacon is crispy, set aside, but leave the delicious fat in the pan. While this is happening, get some kitchen twine, and tie it around your herbs. This makes it easy to simply remove them before serving. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

2)Season chicken with salt and pepper and sear in the pot until nicely caramelized on all sides. Don't crowd the pot. If you have to do this in stages to not bunch the chicken together, do so. It will be better and easier this way.

3)Set chicken aside with bacon, and add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to this mixture of rendered chicken and bacon fats.....this is how we build layers of flavor. Cook until vegetables are lightly caramelized. Then add shrooms and tomatoes and cook until mushrooms release their liquid

4)add herbs to the pot, then butter. Once butter is melted, stir in the flour, ensuring that no lumps occur. Cook the roux (that what the mix of fat and flour is called) for 2 minutes, stirring pretty much constantly

5)Add wine and stock to pot SLOWLY, stirring constantly to ensure no lumps yet again. Return chicken to pot, and add shallots. Cover and place in oven for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You can't really cook this too long.

6)Remove from oven, let cool, then refridgerate. The next day, 2 hours before serving, simply pop it back in a 250 degree oven and forget about it until you're ready to eat.

To serve, remove chicken and shallots and place on serving platter. At this point, you can either drain your sauce (if like my dad, you aren't a veggie fan...I like veggies, so I leave them in) or not. It should be a consistency somewhere between stock and gravy, enough to coat the back of the spoon. If it's still to thin, just cook it down a bit more...if it's too thick, just add a bit more stock. Pour sauce over chicken and shallots, and top with your crispy bacon from yesterday (if you didn't snack it all down during the cooking process). This can really be served with any starch....good old mashers, rice, polenta...whatever you like. I usually like to go with a slightly lighter vegetable option like a nice, fresh green salad, or marinated tomatoes, just so the meal doesn't get too heavy.

As far as wine pairings go, this is a fairly obvious choice --- a nice burgundy. Really, any red with some nice backbone, but not overpowering tannins. This isn't the dish for your 1988 barolo, but nor is it a chicken dish to have a nice light sauvignon blanc with. A good rule of thumb would be to drink it with what you cooked it with.

Anyway, I say I say, enjoy..............

And to finish, some great quotes from Mrs. Childs
Find something you're passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it
Life itself is the proper binge.
Everything in moderation, including moderation.
I think every woman should have a blowtorch.
How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?

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