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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Feeling Trendy

I've always made coq au vin with red wine.  I'm not a cooking renegade, so I've always made it the traditional way, or what I thought was the traditional way.  And that was with red wine.

Well, so much for that.

Lately, coq au vine jaune has been just about everywhere.  Is it because substituting a full bodied white wine for the tried and true red is new and trendy?  Or is this just the best kept secret, from me anyway, ever?

After a little research session with my close friend Google, it turns out that coq au jaune has been around in different incarnations for some time.  Not forever, but regional French chefs have, for years and years, been playing with different wine pairings in coq au vin.

Where the hell have I been?

In my defense, and I have kids so I've got a lot of experience defending myself and my lack of cool, despite being a tried and true version of coq au vin, coq au vin jaune has been gaining in popularity of late.  So, actually if you think about it, I'm actually with trend by blogging about it now.

True, it would have been more impressive had I caught on to this particular trend at the beginning, but I'm a 55 year old woman living in Pittsburgh.  I have no other defense.

So, on to the recipe.  It's divine.  So good.  So satisfying.  The really nice thing about this recipe is that it's a little lighter than its red wine counterpart.  It's still rich and delicious, but not quite as heavy.

This is not a recipe you're going to throw together in 15 minutes.  It takes time.  Don't skip steps or shorten up the recommended timing.  Cooking the stew slowly is what produces the deliciously tender chicken and the rich and velvety sauce.  It will seem, at the beginning, and even towards the middle of the cooking time, that you have a lot of liquid.  Be patient.  It will develop into a sauce roughly the consistency of half and half, perfect for spooning over noodles or rice.

Take your time and revel in your (almost) trendiness.  I did.

Recipe:  Coq au Vin Jaune
Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2015

Total Time: 2 hours Serves: 5-7


½ cup all-purpose flour
1 (6-pound) capon, cut into 8 pieces, or 6 pounds chicken thighs and/or breasts
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 tablespoons clarified unsalted butter
1 large onion, finely minced
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4½ cups Vin Jaune or other big, rich white wine, such as Riesling
1½ pounds white button mushrooms, thickly sliced
3 ounces dried morels, soaked in warm water at least 30 minutes, soaking liquid reserved
⅔ cup crème fraîche or sour cream
2½ cups chicken stock or water, as needed
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, as needed
Sherry vinegar, as needed
Chopped fresh parsley and/or chives, for garnish
Cooked, buttered noodles or rice, for serving


Place flour in a large Ziploc bag. Add chicken, seal bag and shake to coat chicken in flour on all sides. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour, and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Heat half the clarified butter in a large lidded Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once hot, cook chicken pieces, working in batches if necessary, until lightly browned, 5-10 minutes per side. Add onions and garlic, and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2-3 minutes. Deglaze pan with ⅓ cup of wine, scraping up brown bits from bottom. With all chicken pieces in pan, cover, place in oven and cook 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining clarified butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once melted, add button mushrooms, and sauté, tossing frequently, until very tender and slightly caramelized, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

Remove chicken from oven and add all but ½ cup of remaining wine to pan. Place on stove over medium-low heat and simmer to marry flavors and let some alcohol evaporate, 10 minutes. Add morels and soaking liquid to pot. Simmer, stirring frequently, 20 minutes more.

Stir crème fraîche into pot along with sautéed button mushrooms and simmer until chicken is very tender, 30 minutes more. Sauce should be just thick enough to coat a spoon, similar to half-and-half. If too thick, stir in remaining wine, then stock or water, ¼ cup at a time, to reach desired consistency. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice or vinegar, as needed.

Garnish with herbs, if using, and serve with noodles or rice.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cold Weather Chicken

There's a reason you haven't been hearing much from me.  I'm just not in the mood.  I've had enough winter.  I've had enough braised meat.  I've had enough citrus.  And I've had enough cold, dreary days.  Yup, spring can't come faust enough for me.

Unfortunately, the weather gods have other ideas.  Snow is falling, the wind is blowing, and the snow drifts are growing.  Temperatures are plummeting.  Punxsutawney Phil wasn't kidding when he said six more weeks of winter.  We've settled in for the long hall.

I feel a little guilty complaining because Kate is up there in the wilds of Maine.  At last report, there was something like three feet of snow on the ground on the Bates campus.  The "icicle problem" has become so widespread that Bates sent an "Icicle Safety" email to all students.  My daughter, of course, thought this funny.  "What?  Do they think we're idiots?  Like we would walk under icicles?"  In a word, yes, they do think you're all idiots.  And for good reason.  You're college students.  Good judgment is never to be assumed.

So, anyway...

Despite my lack of interest in all things culinary, except for maybe hot cocoa, I had to cook dinner tonight.  I just couldn't justify macaroni and cheese, (what I really wanted), and instead opted for the cover recipe from this month's Cooking Light: Chicken 25 Ways, Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner.

I'm going to start by saying that this isn't really lemon chicken.  Rather, it's a chicken dish with all kinds of other good stuff (potatoes, green beans, mushrooms), and a couple of slices of lemon,  Yes, the lemon adds some nice sparkle to the dish, but it's really not lemon chicken.

What it is, is very good.  It's takes a couple of steps to get it going, but nothing too difficult.  The ingredients are monthly things you're apt to have on hand, and it's really tasty.  It's satisfying on a cold winter night, without being too heavy, and will make you feel less guilty about having mac and cheese tomorrow night.

Recipe:  Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner
Slightly adapted from Cooking Light, January/February, 2015


12 ounces baby red potatoes, halved
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 3/4-inch thickness
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 thyme sprigs
4 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup whole milk
5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
8 very thin lemon slices
8 ounces fresh trimmed haricots verts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat oven to 450°.

Place potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer 12 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken and thyme sprigs to pan; cook 5 minutes or until chicken is browned. Turn chicken over. Place pan in oven; bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan.

Return pan to medium-high heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Add potatoes, cut sides down; mushrooms; and 1 tablespoon thyme; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring once. Combine milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add remaining salt, remaining pepper, flour mixture, stock, lemon, and beans to pan; simmer 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Add chicken; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender. Sprinkle with parsley.