Coq au vin (cock ooh van)

Cock au vin, or chicken in wine, is another one of those dishes that I really look forward to when the weather chills down some.

You can cook it in a camp oven on the way to wolf creek. It can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to cook it for a shitload of friends. It reheats well, allowing you to get ready for dinner hours or even days early. It actually benefits from being neglected for an hour or two. It can be presented to your peasant friends or haute society in the same sitting. It’s… it’s… magic.

Even if you think you don’t like coq, you will like this.

I will generally use chicken marylands for this dish because I really do love the moistness, but the traditional meat to use is rooster and I can verify that if you have one you need to knock off it couldn’t go to a better cause. I have also been told by a French chef friend of mine that if you want to step it up a notch further, you should use capon, a castrated rooster and a product that is not readily available probably anywhere besides France.

Furthermore, I would also like to add that I don’t care what diet you’re on but now is not the time to be using chicken breast in place of the marylands either.

Some good things that will help you make your coq au vin
Brown that chicken
And now it’s ready for a turn in a 180 C (360 F) preheated oven
Looks like not much worth taking a photo of but tastes like good things have just happened in your kitchen


COQ AU VIN
(CHICKEN IN WINE)


Serves 4

4 chicken marylands, separated into thigh and drumstick
150 g bacon or speck, sliced
250 g eshallots or pickling onions (the little baby ones), or a diced onion or two
500 g mushrooms, a mix of whatever you have; button, swiss brown or king oyster. Left whole if small and halved or quartered if a bit big
1 ripe tomato, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bouquet garni (sprigs of thyme, rosemary and bay leaf)
500 ml red wine
500 ml chicken or beef stock
1 tablespoon flour mixed with ¼ cup water
Salt and pepper to season
Chopped parsley and crusty bread (Or soft bread. Who am I to tell you what bread to eat), to serve

Season the chicken and brown in a heavy based pot. Set aside.
Now in the same pot brown the bacon, onion, garlic and mushrooms.
Now the chicken goes back into the pot and so does the tomato.
Have a glass of wine and add the remainder to the pot. While you’re there you can chuck in the bouquet garni and stock. Cover the pot and whack it in the oven at 180C for 1.5 or so hours. Just enough time to get well on the way to being jolly pissed.
Alright. Concentrate now. One more thing to do…
Bring the pot out of the oven and remove chicken.
Place pot on low-medium heat and slowly whisk in the flour slurry.
Cook out for a couple of minutes so you are not eating raw flour sauce.
Now add your chicken back into the sauce and serve with something potatoey if you’re feeling it, or just by itself is fine too.
Garnish with a little parsley and some bread of your choosing to mop up the juices.
Get in there.

Au Revoir Madame Emma… Coq au Vin and other French Goodies

SAMSUNG CSC

My diary. Monday 30th June, 2014

I had a plan.

Note; I said had.

Today is my day off. No work, no school duties because it is now school holidays (more on that later) and some quiet time with my MacBook Air, finishing a few of the stories I have in my almost ready pile and starting a few stories to go with the hundreds of food photos that are now almost over flowing from my photo library. That was my plan…

Croquembouche in the making
Croquembouche in the making

Obi was getting into the spirit of things
Obi was getting into the spirit of things

Unfortunately this plan was devised by the head of my planning department; a small gnome like creature named Kevin who has absolutely no contact with the outside world, hence did not take into consideration the party we (Jennee and I) were attending last night. You see, our friend Emma (who last sprung to notoriety on these very pages when she hosted a house warming party that left both Jennee and I wounded… Jennee permanently brain damaged, scans would later show) has decided she is off to France for six months. She’s packed her bags and her kids (possibly in the bags) and she is off. Except before anyone leaves around here we need to have a party… a big, fat “au revoir Madame Emma” party… red and white checkered table cloths, French food, guys dressed up with blue and white striped shirts, red neckerchief and beret (where we have this stereotype from I know not, but it was abundant), girls dressed like French prostitutes from the golden era of the Moulin Rouge, ample breasts just barely being contained by corsets and other similar things and nary a pair of knickers between them (note to self; a French themed birthday party is probably a good idea), and booze… oh the booze. We drank like we were at a Scotsman’s wedding,,, and that, my friends, is where this plan crumbled. It was too reliant on me being of sound body and mind today, of which I am most definitely neither. I had put all of my eggs in one basket, dropped said basket crushing all of the eggs which were now oozing their way onto the grass in what could be described as a new age hippy lunch creation; the raw omelette with grass, and now the dog has wandered over and is cleaning the mess for me via it’s tongue.

Good dog.

The coq, ready to feed the starving hordes
The coq, ready to feed the starving hordes

I plated up inside because I needed some better light
I plated up inside because I needed some better light

I have never enjoyed coq so much
I have never enjoyed coq so much

French totem. Nuff said
French totem. Nuff said

But boy, did we eat.

We consumed like the Aussie mine worker on holiday in Bali. Nothing was too much for this feasting farewell to our dear friend. We started with home made chicken liver pate, cheeses… lots of cheeses and fruit, accompanied by only the finest bottles of imitation champagne 12 bucks could buy. That was followed by coq au vin, pommes dauphinoise (or potato grat-arn for those less cultured amongst you. Google that shit and pick a recipe), pickled lentils, sautéed cabbage and peas, onion and pumpkin tart, rocket, pear and walnut salad, crusty bread and, of course, booze… lots more booze. And then to top it all off was the croquembouche, somewhat of a sign that assures you my Jennee has been involved in the feast you have just consumed. Although to be absolutely honest, there were not many amongst us who could fit it in as our bellies were already teetering on the brink of bursting with a cocktail of chicken, cheese and a pile of booze… or maybe that was just me…

Oh yes we ate
Oh yes we ate

The croquembouche
The croquembouche

This is the girl to look out for my French friends (Emma is on the right)
This is the girl to look out for my French friends (Emma is on the right)

A fitting farewell in anyone’s books!

And just a little note to all of my French friends out there – Emma will hit your shores next week and she is ready to eat all of your cheese and pate and she will definitely put a dent in your stocks of wine and champagne. The time to re-stock your cellar is now!

Nothing new… But some really good old shit

This one week during which I didn’t really do anything new or unusual in the kitchen. Well actually, one night while the boys were asleep, Jennee and I got a tub of ice cream and a shit load of chocolate syrup and then we… got… hmmm. Not today methinks. No, we shall concentrate on the regurgitated recipes of days gone by.

I will start the story right… about… here.

I would marry this
I would marry this

I made dahl again… and some flat bread to go with it… and even some sautéed kale and chilli just to top that shit right off. The sautéed kale and chilli is the way of the future. Even by itself with a bowl of rice it would keep a Phillipino factory worker going for a week just so you can strut around in your new custom Nikes.

I have discovered that the kids will eat anything if it's on pizza. These had zucchini, kale and bacon. Seba added a pile of anchovies to his and Obi a pile of capers
I have discovered that the kids will eat anything if it’s on pizza. These had tomato, zucchini, kale and bacon. Seba added a pile of anchovies to his and Obi a pile of capers

The next thing I made again was a load of something that I can’t remember… but I’m sure it’s going to come to me soon… pizzas. We made pizzas. The boys and I make pizzas every week so there was no escaping that one. Plus I got some photos so even my memory couldn’t fail me.

'nuff said
’nuff said

One night I didn’t feel like anything except hammy baked beans for dinner, so basically that story ends with me eating hammy baked beans for dinner.

Bananageddon is upon us
Bananageddon is upon us

I made these bad boys at work. I like to call them “Bananageddon Pancakes”. Banana buttermilk pancakes, fresh banana, banana chips, pecans, home made mascarpone, butterscotch sauce. Effing A!

Pork knuckle. Damn
Pork knuckle. Damn

My Aunty came to visit me all the way from West Oz and, being that Germany was the place of her birth, I thought it legitimate that we should treat her to a classic Chateau le Stockdale German inspired spread… minus the beer wenches this time. Pork knuckle, home made sauerkraut, nana’s potato salad and home made chutneys galore. She left a very happy Aunty Chris.

Queenie working on the mis en place, me mooching around in the background like a gangster
Queenie working on the mis en place, me mooching around in the background like a gangster

I am hungry looking at this pic
I am hungry looking at this pic

The spread. Add some bread and let your face enjoy the good times
The spread. Add some bread and let your face enjoy the good times

Quick face, enjoy those good times
Quick face, enjoy those good times

To top the whole effing week off Queenie and I made coq au vin. But we didn’t just make coq au vin… we made COCK U VAN. This spread was a fricking cracker. The cauli cheese needs a separate write up just for itself. It was probs one of the best things on the table in my humble opinion. Granted, I did make it, but shit that stuff is good. I didn’t even put cheese in it just because I’ll do what the heck I want in my kitchen. No cheese. Nope. Just made a damn good béchamel with a bit of nutmeg in it and that was damn near enough to make a lesser man wet his pants in an entirely inappropriate manner… and by wet his pants I actually mean eat the fuck out of the cauli cheese (no cheese) and don’t stop eating until it exists no longer. That’s right – wipe it out. Tsunami Grazza and the lesser known Tropical Storm Queenie hit the table and sent many Asian villagers (who were actually cauli cheese) to the depths of our combined monsoonal bellies. Potato gratin and sautéed Brussels sprouts were the icing on the proverbial coq au vin cake.

And I will end the story right here.

PS Laura, I put the banana chips on those pancakes just for Azza.

Iluka 2466, day one

Day one.

We rolled into town on a small pink unicorn named Joe. Strange name for a unicorn I know, but it was inherited from his previous owner.
There was no fanfare, zero celebration and we were not even acknowledged by the town hobbit. But I couldn’t hold this against the place… could I?

Fishing boat. Quaint
Fishing boat. Quaint

Immediately my face started scouring the sea side village street scape for suitable eating houses, because that’s just what it does when we’re on holidays… and pretty much every other day. It spied the fisherman’s co-op so I rewarded it with a slap up seafood feast. Nice. A great start to any holiday. My face thanked me for feeding it oysters and fish and prawns, and in return it let me smile for a minute or two. Nice face… nice face.

Earlier it was passed that our eldest son, Seba, was going to cook dinner tonight so we set about getting the necessary ingredients for “Gall amb vi del priorat” (or chicken in red wine) from Frank Commora’s book “MoVida Rustica”. Looks damn fine I must admit, but somehow the kid managed to blag the cooking side of things in favour of splashing around in the river and a jaunt to the park… bloody kids these days. No sense of responsibility or fulfilment of promises. Taking into account his age (7) I decided I would cut him a little slack, put the stock whip away and get my ass into the quaint little seaside cottage kitchen. I LOVE electric cooktops… about as useful as a hatful of trousers. I’m not even sure what that was meant to mean…

SAMSUNG CSC
To be absolutely fair, Seba did manage to chop a few vegetables before he bailed…

SAMSUNG CSC
It’s a good book kiddos. Not “the good book”, but a good book none-the-less

SAMSUNG CSC
…and Seba was quite excited to be able to empty a bottle of wine in there

SAMSUNG CSC
Really similar to coq au vin, but this has cinnamon in it

SAMSUNG CSC
I bloody loved the cinnamon in there

SAMSUNG CSC
With sauteed green beans and lemon. Living like a boss!