March 27

COQ AU VIN

Julia Child helped to popularize this homey French stew in the States after she made it on her show, The French Chef. There are many ways to make this; some are really technique driven, and others are much easier for a home cook, but they all follow the basic same idea—cook chicken in red wine. I do a subtle twist that adds loads of additional flavor: I like to marinate the chicken overnight in the red wine, letting it penetrate the chicken for a more pronounced flavor. If you have company coming for dinner, this is a terrific stew to make ahead of time, as an overnight rest in the fridge only makes it better the following day. Plus, nothing beats working leisurely and feeling relaxed the day of a dinner party.

1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces
1 cup dry red wine
8 ounces slab bacon, diced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups veal stock
1⁄4 cup tomato paste
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1⁄2 cup brandy
1 ½  tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 fresh or dried bay leaf
Boiled potatoes or rice pilaf, for serving

  1. Place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag and pour in the wine. Seal the bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F; position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Line a tray with paper towels.
  1. Remove the chicken from the bag and place the chicken on the prepared tray. Reserve the wine left in the bag. Pat dry the chicken—wet chicken will not brown—and set aside.
  1. In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until it is lightly browned and the fat has rendered out, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate.
  1. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides. Working in batches, add the chicken to the pot with the rendered bacon fat. Cook the chicken for about
4 minutes per side, turning the pieces to brown them evenly. Do not rush this step— browning will add loads of flavor to your final dish. Transfer the chicken to the plate with the bacon and set aside.
  1. While the chicken is browning, combine the stock with the tomato paste in the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  1. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until lightly browned, 8 to 9 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the brandy and deglaze the pan, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until the alcohol has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Return the chicken and bacon to the pot, and add the reserved wine and the tomato paste mixture. Add the thyme and bay leaf, cover the pot, and transfer to the oven. Braise the chicken for about 1 ½ hours, or until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened. Let cool and refrigerate until ready to serve, or serve immediately over boiled potatoes or rice pilaf.