Monday, August 24, 2009
Okay, so I admit that part of the reason I decided to try coq au vin for dinner this weekend was because I like the name. "Coq au Vin." It sounds so French and fancy--I figured it must be tasty.
And the other reason I decided to try was that The Pioneer Woman posted her account of the dish and it looked so lovely on her blog. I swear I could hear the crackle of the bacon in the skillet, and smell the simmering wine sauce. (her photos, by the way, admittedly look much prettier than mine...)
First you have to cook the bacon. Personally I love bacon. I can hardly think of a dish that couldn't be improved with just a little hint of bacon. Okay--maybe ice cream...but that's about it.
Then you brown the chicken. At this point I was quite envious of the Pioneer Woman's large skillet. My smaller, non stick variety was certainly a tight squeeze for the whole chicken and it took FOREVER to brown.
See--this is why cooking is dangerous. Suddenly you start wanting to buy more skillets and fancy kitchen doo-dads. I don't have any more room for skillets and doo-dads!
Then you saute the carrots, onion, garlic and mushrooms* (*in a separate skillet). For the record, I HATE chopping carrots. I think they're my all time least favorite thing to chop. Always little orange pieces are bouncing off my cutting board and rolling onto the floor. And I can never get my knife to center on them just right. I'm carrot-chopping-challenged.
Then you dump it all--veggies, chicken and bacon--into a baking dish and prepare the wine sauce. My sauce, I confess, was a sad combination of a variety of red wines I had stashed around, including a "cooking wine" that I'm pretty sure contained no alcohol whatsoever and smelled like grape juice. I'll try to do better next time...
Finally, after one-and-a-half hours spent in the oven, the coq au vin is ready to pull out and serve over pasta. By this point it really does smell divine. I couldn't wait to dig in.
And of course it passed the most important test for food: it looks so pretty all dished out on the plate, don't you think?
And for a "fancy French dinner that would impress guests," it's actually quite affordable and would feed a roomful (we'll be eating leftovers for days!).
Try coq au vin for yourself (click here for the recipe from Pioneer Woman) and email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to tell me how it went...or post a comment here about your recent cooking venture! I'd love to hear!
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