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. Rememberdon'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 salt 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 themenameled 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 saucewhich will transform it in a surprising wayabout 20 grindings of the mill, taste for salt, and pour over the rooster. Serves 8 to 10.