Red Wine & Old Roosters AKA Coq Au Vin

Discussion in 'Egg, Chicken, & Other Favorite Recipes' started by dangerouschicken, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    Everyone here keeps asking about Coq Au Vin recipes that actually use a rooster vs the modern versions that call for a standard "chicken." I found this fascinating version from Jeffrey Steingarten and wanted to share it with you.

    If you are really interested in how he came across this recipe and his desire to truly taste a real ROOSTER in Coq Au Vin, read this wonderful excerpt from It Must've Been Something I Ate: The Return of the Man Who Ate Everything. It gives even more insight into the recipe, as well. You will love his preserverance!

    COQ AU VIN by Jeffrey Steingarten

    2 mature roosters, about 18 months old, 11-13 pounds each, gross weight, which is 9-11 pounds each, net weight, including the crest and the kidneys but discarding the other internal organs, the feet, and the head. You will be eating only the dark meat and using the rest for bouillon. So, the drumsticks should be separated from the thighs and the thighs cut crosswise into 2 pieces each, for a total of 12 pieces. Everything else should be chopped into 2-inch pieces.

    For the bouillon:

    4 Tbs. vegetable (canola) oil
    3 medium carrots, scraped and thinly sliced, about 1½ cups
    1 medium-large onion (about 3½-inch diameter), peeled and roughly chopped, about 1½ cups
    2 large leeks, only white and light green parts; leaves separated, carefully washed, and sliced crosswise, about 1 cup
    1½ large ribs celery, leaves discarded, washed and sliced crosswise, about ¾ cup
    1 large bouquet garni (2 European bay leaves, 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 12 sprigs of parsley, bundled and wrapped around with one of the discarded dark green leek leaves, and tied with string)
    ½ tsp. salt
    3 whole cloves

    For the marinade

    2½ bottles hearty, young red Burgundy or domestic Pinot Noir. Remember—don't cook with a wine you wouldn't drink. There is no need to go overboard: $10 a bottle should suffice
    ½ tsp. salt
    15 black peppercorns
    10 turns of a peppermill containing black peppercorns
    1 head garlic, unpeeled, cut in half crosswise
    2 medium-large onions (about 3½-inch diameter), peeled and roughly chopped, about 2 cups
    2 large carrots, peeled and sliced crosswise every 1/8 inch, about 1 cup

    For cooking the coq au vin:

    ¼ cup vegetable (canola) oil, as needed
    1 lb. smoked slab bacon, cut into cubes ¾-inch on each side
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
    ½ cup cognac
    2 oz. dried cépes (porcini in Italian), soaked in hot water for ten minutes and squeezed to expel the water

    For finishing and serving the coq au vin

    ½ tsp. granulated sugar, if needed
    1 lb. white "Paris" mushrooms. (Choose them yourself; try to buy only the tiniest ones, ideally ½ inch across the cap.)
    Juice of one lemon
    2 Tbs. vegetable (canola) oil
    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 lb. steamed, small, peeled potatoes; or spaetzle; or lightly buttered egg noodles
    Special equipment: 2 large roasting pans; a stockpot having at least 8 quarts' capacity; a large frying pan; a bowl having at least 6 quarts' capacity; a large strainer; and a large, heavy roasting pan or stew pot at least 4 inches deep, large enough to accomodate all (or nearly all) the pieces of rooster in one layer without much space between them—enameled cast iron is ideal.

    – – – – –

    Between 2 and 4 days before dinner: making the bouillon from the bony pieces and breasts of teh roosters. Begin by arranging the chopped-up pieces of rooster in one layer in two large roasting pans, dribbling a tablespoon of oil over each one, and browning well in a 425°F oven for about 1 hour. Halfway through, turn the meat, add the carrots, leek, onion, and celery, and dribble with another 2 tablespoons of oil.

    Lift the roasted rooster parts and vegetables into a stockpot with a capacity of at least 8 quarts. Add the bouquet garni and cloves. Tilt the roasting pans, spoon out any oil, and discard. Pour a total of 1 quart of water into the roasting pans, bring to a boil on the stovetop over medium-high heat, scrape up the coagulated meat juices and vegetables from the bottom of the pans, and pour into the stockpot. Add barely enough water to cover the pieces of rooster and vegetables, about 2½ quarts more. Add the salt, the peppercorns, and the cloves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, and cook, covered, for 3 hours. (If the liquid evaporates too quickly and exposes the other ingredients, pour in a little boiling water.) Let cool for several hours or overnight. Strain and measure. Reduce over high heat to 2 quarts.

    Between 2 and 5 days before dinner, marinate the meaty pieces of rooster: Put the 4 drumsticks, the 8 pieces of thigh, and the 2 pieces of lower back into a bowl with at least 6 quarts' capacity. Add the vegetables and the salt. Pour in enough red wine barely to cover, about 2½ bottles' worth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and let marinate until 1 day before the dinner.

    The day before dinner, cook the coq au vin and prepare the garnishes: Bring about 1 quart of water to the boil in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan, add the bacon, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and dry with paper towels.

    Remove the pieces of rooster from the marinade and dry with paper towels. Pour the marinade throgh a large strainer set over a 4- to 6-quart bowl. Press the vegetables against the strainer to expel more of the wine and dry the vegetables between paper towels.

    Over medium-high heat, in a frying pan large enough to hold half the rooster in 1 layer, brown the bacon in the oil until it is crisp on the surface and barely cooked within. With a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, remove the bacon to a bowl. Spoon out all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat and reserve it in another little bowl for subsequent batches of frying. Salt and pepper half the pieces of rooster, put them into the frying pan, skin side down, and brown well on both sides over medium-high heat. Put 2 teaspoons of the flour in a strainer and shake it over the rooster pieces. Turn and brown the floured side. Dust the upper side with flour, turn, and brown that side. Add more of the bacon fat as needed. Remove to a plate and blot with paper towels.

    Repeat with the other pieces of rooster. Then brown the vegetables strained from the marinade, dust with flour, brown again, remove to a plate, and blot with paper towels.

    Choose a large, heavy pan at least 4 inches deep, large enough to accomodate all (or nearly all) the pieces of rooster in one layer, closely packed. Spoon in the bacon and the browned vegetables and set the pieces of roster on top of them. Pour the cognac over all, put the pan over high heat, and when you hear it sizzle, carefully light the vapors above the pan with a long match or igniter, and shake the pan until the alcohol has burned away. Then pour the wine from the marinade over everything. Pour in enough of the bouillon just to cover the solid ingredients. Over high heat, bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer.

    Skim the surface of the liquid for about 10 minutes. Add the dried, revived cèpes or porcini. Reduce the heat further to the barest simmer, cover tightly, and cook for 5 hours.

    Check frequently and adjust the heat when necessary. The pieces of rooster should be tender when pierced with the point of a knife but still offer a little springy resistance. Then let the pan and its contents cool overnight to room temperature.

    On the day of the dinner, preferably in the morning: With a slotted spoon or wire skimmer, very carefully remove the pieces of rooster from their sauce to a platter or rimmed cookie sheet. Strain the sauce into large glass bowls (2-quart Pyrex measuring cups are extremely handy and let you measure as you go along; I own several), let settle for 10 minutes, and skim off as much fat as you can. You will have about 3 quarts of sauce; reduce over medium-high heat to just over 2 quarts.

    Meanwhile, wash the white mushrooms. Cut off their stems to within ¼ inch of the caps, and discard. In a large saucepan, cover them with 2 quarts of water, 2 teaspoons of salt, and the lemon juice. Bring to a boil and cook until the mushrooms are crisp-tender. Drain and blot dry; then season them with salt and pepper and brown them over high heat in a frying pan or saute pan, using any remaining bacon fat and adding vegetable oil.

    Choose a casserole capable of holding the pieces of rooster in 1 layer. (The rooster will have shrunk and will fit into a much smaller pan than before.) Spoon in the reserved bacon and the sautéed mushrooms and nestle the pieces of rooster atop them. Pour in the broth, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, uncovered, and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook very slowly for 10 minutes, skimming frequently.

    After 5 minutes, taste the sauce and if it is markedly acidic (from the wine you have chosen), add ¼ teaspoon of sugar. Repeat a few minutes later. Then turn off the heat and cover until dinnertime.

    One hour and a half before dinner, bring the coq au vin very slowly to a simmer and cook for ½ hour. Meanwhile, prepare the potatoes, spaetzle, or noodles, and begin cooking them.

    Once again, gently remove the pieces of coq to a serving dish. Strain the sauce and scatter the bacon and mushrooms over the rooster. Cover with foil and hold in a warm place. In a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat, reduce the sauce to about 3 cups. (It should have thickened and be able to coat the back of a wooden spoon [see note], but not have become syrupy or sticky.) There will be more than enough to coat the piees of rooster and flavor the potatoes, noodles, or spaetzle. Add ample black pepper to the sauce—which will transform it in a surprising way—about 20 grindings of the mill, taste for salt, and pour over the rooster. Serves 8 to 10.
    1 person likes this.
  2. balticbabe

    balticbabe Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    King County, WA
    Thanks for posting this. Have you tried it?
  3. suenrob

    suenrob Songster

    Jan 22, 2008
    Ft. Myers, FL
    Wow, thats the longest recipe I've even seen!! Too much trouble for me, but I'm sure others will enjoy it [​IMG]
  4. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    My husband and I have made Coq Au Vin before (with a rooster), but the recipe was a modern one, and it came out too stringy. I would be up for trying this recipe in the future, though. The length of the recipe can be daunting, but I know there are folks here who wanted something very authentic tasting, and I feel this just might be it.

    Jeffrey Steingarten is a long-winded guy. [​IMG] He likes to write with a lot of detail, so it doesn't surprise me that his recipes are the same way. I love the story that goes with the recipe. It shows how slight differences in chicken ages/sex etc can really change the flavor of the meat.
  5. deb1

    deb1 Songster

    Jun 26, 2008
    Quote:I've just skimmed his recipe but it sounds like he includes directions for everything. Most recipes today would say add so much broth or just make the broth from the pieces. He actually includes how to make the broth and fry the bacon pieces. So, I think that the recipe is less lengthy then it looks.
  6. menageriemama

    menageriemama Songster

    Feb 2, 2008
    Superior, WI
    Ooooooohhhh!!! Looks promising!! I will have to try it out once the mercury goes below 50 degrees [​IMG] PS hope you feel better soon dangerouschicken [​IMG]
  7. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    Thank you, menagerie. I am feeling much better today [​IMG]

    Truthfully, this is the best "traditional" recipe I have seen, if not the only one, where the chef really spent time to try to create an authentic Coq au Vin. You just never see that. It is like the last 100 years of processed chickens nearly erased the artform of using a rooster. There are so many of us out there looking to use our older roosters for something other than dogfood, and I think this makes for a good try at bringing back a traditional classic French dish, which is afterall, called Cock and Wine, not Hen and Wine.
  8. 7490jonathan

    7490jonathan Hatching

    Oct 29, 2008
    Oh, what a yummy recipe! My mother always used to make coq au vin for special dinners. That recipe reminds me a lot of the one she used.
    I hope I can force my wife to try it out for me - I am an awful cook! [​IMG]

    We don't really drink wine to often and I don't know much of this lovely beverage, but as you mentioned that it is important to use a good wine I might pay a visit to our local wine merchant to find one that is not too expensive but still good enough for cooking a lovely coq au vin.

    Thanks again for the recipe! [​IMG]
  9. oparea

    oparea In the Brooder

    Sep 12, 2008
    Saint Marys, GA
    I will be cooking this soon. This is THE recipe I've been looking for.
  10. Charles07

    Charles07 Songster

    Apr 10, 2010
    Sheridan, Indiana

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