Mom knows best

Besides being around great restaurants growing up, I had the best Chef I know cooking for me every night at home. I’m not exaggerating when I say that my mother is a amazing cook; she’s had many of the big name chefs ask her for recipes. My mother learned everything she knows about cooking from her mother. My grandmother, as my mom constantly told me, was years ahead of her time when it came to some of the dishes she would make or the styles in which she prepared them. Although my mom is sad that I never had the opportunity to cook with my grandma, she at least left us with her large collection of recipes that she acquired throughout her life.

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*my wonderful girlfriend and her parents surprised me for Christmas with scanning and binding all of my grandmothers recipes (787 pages worth)

One of my family’s all time favorite recipes, something I have requested for many a birthday dinner, is Coq Au Vin. Coq Au Vin is a French dish that consists of braised chicken with wine (usually Burgundy), bacon lardons, and mushrooms. In France, the wine used in the dish will differ depending on the region its being made: coq au vin jaune( Jura), coq au Riesling (Alsace), coq au pourpre or coq au violet (Beaujolais nouveau), coq au Champagne, etc. The family recipe is below with my own tips and suggestions in bold.

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Mom’s Coq Au Vin

  • 2 lbs Chicken breast (cubed)
  • All Purpose Flour (enough to coat the chicken)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 lbs Baby carrots
  • 1 lb Bacon (lardon)
  • 2 packages Crimini Mushrooms (sliced)
  •  1 cup Red Wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Chicken Better than Boullion (to taste)
  • 3 or 4 large cloves garlic
  • 6 to 8 peppercorns
  1.  Put the slab of bacon in the freezer for about 20 min. Once the bacon is chilled, slice it into lardons (or thick pieces). (By putting it into the freezer first, it makes it much easier to slice the bacon into clean slices). Heat a your dutch oven or pot to medium high heat and add your bacon lardons. Render the bacon until crispy, set aside on a paper towel and plate.
  2. Cut your chicken breasts into cubes. Mix your all purpose flour with salt and pepper, then toss your chicken in the seasoned flour until evenly coated. (In a normal Coq Au Vin, you would make a roux to thicken it, but with this method of coating the chicken first, the leftover flour will act as a thickener for the sauce). With the excess bacon fat in the pan brown the pieces of chicken on both sides. Set aside with the bacon.
  3. Add a little olive oil to the pan and sauté the carrots until slightly brown. Layer the whole garlic, peppercorns and mushrooms, bacon and chicken pieces on top.
  4. Add chicken broth and red wine. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Let it cool before serving. This dish can be served with rice or on its own, but of course with a glass of wine.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do and that you learned something new. Thank you and Stay Hungry!