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Simple Coq au Vin

Coq au vin is a fantastic dish to make for company.  For one thing, it’s easy and you don’t need to pay all that much attention to it – leaving you more time with your guests.  For another thing, it sounds fancy because it’s French.  Coq au vin is a traditional French dish of chicken braised in red wine (or Riesling, for a fun Alsatian variation).  It is a wonderful, warming, rustic and filling dinner – one of my favorite things to eat in the fall and winter.  Because of the intense flavor of the sauce and the braised chicken, it is also a good meal to prepare for someone who is cutting back on their salt intake.  I recently served coq au vin to several of my family members, including one person who is on a low-sodium diet.  Most dishes are bland and boring without salt, so I turned to coq au vin as a dish that packs enough flavor to make salt almost superfluous – and it worked!  The salt-free coq au vin was so flavorful that the whole family ate the dish without salt and didn’t miss a thing.  Cooking salt-free can be a challenge, but if you keep a recipe for coq au vin in your back pocket, you’ll never be short on flavor.

Coq au Vin

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 chicken, cut into 6-8 pieces
kosher salt (optional) and pepper
2 pints cremini or baby bella mushrooms
3 carrots, cut thinly into rounds
20 pearl onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1 750-ml bottle red wine (Burgundy or American Pinot Noir)
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
3 tablespoons flour

  • In a large French oven over medium-high heat, warm olive oil until shimmering.  Season chicken pieces with salt (if using) and pepper, then brown both sides in the oil.  Remove chicken to a paper towel-lined dish.
  • Add mushrooms, carrots, onions and garlic to pot and saute until golden and beginning to soften.  Add half the bottle of wine and cook over high heat for 8-10 minutes.
  • Return the chicken to the pot.  Add the remaining wine, broth and herbs and allow mixture to come to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for 45 minutes.
  • Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs.  Transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving bowl, using a slotted spoon.  Add 3 tablespoons of flour.  Return mixture to a boil and whisk frequently until sauce thickens slightly.  Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables and serve.

Source: Adapted from Epicurious.com.

Yield: Serves 6.

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