Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Coq au vin blanc

Here is an easy coq au vin that is made with white wine instead of the more common red version. A Riesling would be particularly good, and in fact, there is a good recipe for chicken with Riesling in this month's Gourmet, but I am lazy so I used the run-of-mill Chardonnay hanging out in my fridge. Also it was Sunday and God doesn't like us to be able buy wine for our chicken on Sundays, so what can you do?

Get a chicken and have it cut into 8 or 10 pieces, whichever you prefer. If you don't usually ask your butcher to cut a chicken up, you can buy precut-up chicken pieces instead. Heat 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Shake up your chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then brown them in the hot oil-butter mixture. I did mine in batches--I really can't fit more than 4 or 5 chicken pieces in my pot at once, so just fit in what you can, pull them out and set aside. It takes about 8-10 minutes to brown each batch, flipping them over at least once so that both sides become a beautiful dark golden color. Set chicken aside, and at this point you should set your oven to preheat to 350 because this will all end up in there eventually. Chop 2 leeks into small pieces (just the white and light green parts) and swish them around in a bowl of water to clean all the dirt out. Leeks are always sandy and gritty so be sure to do that. Fish out the clean leek bits and dry them off, then add to your now-empty pot to sauté along with 2 more tablespoons butter and one small, minced yellow onion. When the onion and leeks are soft (about 8 minutes) add the chicken back in, golden-skin side up, along with about 3 carrots that you have peeled and sliced into matchstick pieces. Pour 1 cup white wine over all and allow the liquids to reduce over high heat for about 5 minutes. Cover the pot and stick it in your oven at 350 degrees for about half an hour, then pull it out and pour ½ cup heavy cream over everything. Serve the chicken pieces with the delicious cream-wine sauce ladled over the top.


Alan said...

I've never had a butcher cut a chicken for me. But since we might raise a few chickens next year (more for the eggs, but I might get hungry for meat some day), what is the difference between asking for 8 or 10 pieces? Do they leave the leg and thigh attached with 8 pieces? I'm fascinated. Which do you prefer?

carla said...

I prefer 10 pieces, but I don't really have a good reason for it! I think 8 cuts is more typical. The eight-cut results in two wings, two breast halves, two thighs, and two legs. Here's a video of how to do it: