I’m going to start of by saying that I was not overly pleased with this dish. I’ve had it before, prepared by our wedding caterer, and I did like it very much. I know that something in the way I prepared the Coq au Vin just didn’t work perfectly, but I’m not sure what.
Funnily enough, I while didn’t enjoy the chicken, but I’m very pleased with the sauce. I let the chicken marinate overnight in the sauce to see if it tasted better the next day. Even thoughJulia Child suggests that Coq au Vin is better the next day, I really didn’t find that to be the case with my finished product.
Apparently, true Coq au Vin should use a rooster, not a hen. It should also use a red burgundy wine; however, I elected to use pretty cheap Shiraz, because I really don’t want to break the bank on a meal we’ll only eat for 1-2 days.
Full Disclosure: This can be a one dish recipe and is a lot easier if it is! I do not own a Dutch oven, and therefore had to switch between a skillet, glass baking dish, and a large stockpot. Needless to say, I know what I’m asking for come Christmas time. I was told that using a cast iron skillet or dutch oven will help each ingredient’s flavor stand-out among the other flavors.
If I had a dutch oven, I would not have ended up submerging my chicken in the sauce as much, thus preventing the chicken to become as soggy. I really would have liked to appreciate the crispy skin on the top of the chicken.
I will definitely be attempting this recipe with a dutch oven in the future, but I learned a very important thing today: If you have a cast iron dutch oven that is not enamel coated, the acidity in your Coq au Vin could tamper with the taste. Don’t let your Coq au Vin (or any other acidic dish) to sit in cast iron once it’s done cooking, and ensure your cast iron dutch oven is “well seasoned”, which means that you have essentially baked your oven with vegetable oil on it.
Here’s a link on how to do that: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-season-a-cast-iron-skillet-cleaning-lessons-from-the-kitchn-107614.
When it comes to the ingredients, I had a hard time finding the bacon lardons that are required in the recipe I used. I grabbed the only thing I could find that looked like it would work (salted pork), and turns out that’s exactly what I was supposed to use! Bacon lardons should come from salted pork, not smoked pork, so keep that in mind when scouring the grocery store for this evasive ingredient. You may also want to buy a second package, as salted pork is delectable.
I think I may retry this recipe, substituting chicken broth for wine. I really just don’t like wine.
Here’s a link to the recipe I used, followed by a great blog post on how to perfect your Coq au Vin recipe: