Coq au Zin (Vin)

Our holidays were spent in Washington state this year... where we were met with loads of fluffy snow but flew out amidst fits of rain. It was fun to see weather of any sort as we don't usually have much of it here in Southern California.

A snowy Christmas Eve called for a special dinner. This year we chose an older recipe from Bon Appetit: Coq au Zin. You're probably more familiar with Coq au Vin. Coq is French for 'chicken' and Vin is French for 'wine.' In this recipe, the wine used is a red zinfandel, thus the play on the name.

Let me preface this post by saying that this recipe is a definite keeper.

Here's the How-To:

Chopped bacon is sauteed until crisp. I used "Center-Cut" bacon (more meat, less fat). The bacon is removed to a towel-lined plate. The grease is left in the pan.

Flour-dusted chicken is browned in the bacon fat on both sides, and then it's removed to glass baking dishes to await additions.

Shallots are sauteed with garlic, crimini mushrooms, small onions and fresh marjoram.

A bottle of red zinfandel is added to the mushroom mixture, along with chicken stock and the reserved bacon.

This mixture is then poured on top of the chicken in the glass baking dishes. The given recipe serves 6. I made a little more than that to serve a few more people.

The pans are covered tightly with foil and then placed into the oven where the chicken has a chance to simmer in that wonderful liquid for an hour.

The chicken is then removed from the pan to a platter, along with the strained vegetables. The remaining liquid is left to simmer for a short time and is thickened with a butter/flour mixture.

We had a large amount of sauce, so I placed the chicken and veggies into a large serving bowl and poured the sauce on top (along with some fresh chives). This turned out to be a great way to serve it- the liquid helped the chicken to stay warm on the table and it kept it moist.

We could not have been happier with this recipe. Everyone at the table wanted seconds (and the leftovers were great too!) It's not often that you can really rave about a chicken recipe, but this one was utterly delicious. It would be a great one for a gourmet dinner club party.

You might wonder if you can use boneless, skinless thighs (or even chicken breasts). I wouldn't mess with the recipe. It was perfect as is. The bone-in chicken (and the fatty skin) helps with the flavor in the sauce, and chicken breasts just wouldn't be the same. You could certainly try it, but my guess is that they would not be as good.

Good start to the year... Excellent chicken recipe found!

This recipe can be found HERE.

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