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Can’t quite nail down the reason that I went on a crazy tangent – in search of everything that has been written about Coq au Vin – translated as “Rooster with Wine”…but it happened!  I came across some article “somewhere” that talked about classic French dishes…some of which I have conquered; But, there it was – “Coq au Vin”, a dish I had not yet given much thought to (until now!).  That is where it all started…

Most people, today, use a hen or several small chickens to make this dish.  But, not here – I had to find the real deal…nothing but a rooster was going to make me happy.   Of course, most markets are not selling roosters (I’ll bet that it has been a while since you saw a nice rooster nestled between the chicken breasts and pork chops at Albertsons!) – but, just as I was in the middle of mad googling to see where I could buy one (not a whole case!),  I stumbled back on Gotreaux’s Family Farm’s website…they are selling, not only the most wonderful organic chickens and lamb, but – yes – roosters and guinea hens! 

I could hardly wait until Saturday morning, to get to the Hub City Farmer’s Market…”early”, to make sure that I would get my rooster!  Then, it dawned on me…I haven’t had a Guinea Gumbo in years, get a guinea too!  Walking back to my car, with my bag containing a big fat rooster, a guinea hen and a huge roasting chicken, I felt like the luckiest person in the world…hard to imagine that it takes so little to make me feel so good! 

Of course,  while the search was on, I had been collecting and printing every recipe that I could find on how to make a very traditional Coq au Vin…but, as always, I consolidated ideas from several and came up with what I thought would work.

There is a little tidbit that you should know, if you ever want to cook this fabulous dish – you have to marinade “the bird” for at least 24 hours, in a whole bottle of red wine, to really get the flavors to come through.  Just think ahead!  So worth it…

“My version”:

Ingredients:

Marinade:

1 bottle red wine

1 bag of pearl onions – peeled – or 2 medium onions, roughly chopped

2 carrots – chopped roughly

1 stalk of celery – chopped roughly

4 cloves of garlic – chopped

2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

1 tbsp chopped fresh sage

1 bay leaf

Cut rooster or hen into 8 pieces (the breasts need to be cut into 4 pieces instead of 2)

Mix marinade together in large container. Put all pieces of rooster or hen into marinade and toss to make sure that all pieces are coated well. Cover and place in refrigerator for 24 -72 hours.  (All of the pieces should be covered by the marinade)

To cook the Coq au Vin:

Ingredients:

1 large rooster or hen, cut into 8 pieces (marinated as above)

1/2 lb. bacon

1 small bag of pearl onions, peeled

2 carrots, chopped

1 stalk of celery, chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 cups button mushrooms

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp tomato paste

1 can rotel tomatoes

1 tsp sugar

2 quarts chicken broth

1 bouquet garni (5 sprigs of parsley, 4 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 leaves of fresh sage)

1 bay leaf

Salt

Fresh ground black pepper

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Remove rooster or hen from marinade and dry with paper towels. Set aside;

Place marinade (with all veggies) in a sauce pot and cook on medium heat until it has reduced by about 1/2.  As it cooks down, skim off the foam that rises to the top.  Take off of heat and strain into a bowl.  Reserve the sauce;

In large dutch oven – brown the bacon over a medium heat.  Remove when crisp. (You won’t be using the actual bacon, only the drippings – go ahead and make someone a bacon sandwich!)

Brown the rooster or hen pieces in the bacon drippings.  When they are well browned on all sides, remove and place on a platter or tray;

Add and saute’ pearl onions, carrots, celery and garlic in drippings.  Cook until  tender;

Stir in the tomato paste, blending well.  Add sugar and continue stirring the paste with the veggies – cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes;

Add the rotel tomatoes, chicken stock, mushrooms, reserved marinade sauce, bay leaf and bouquet garni.  Stir and blend all well;

Place all pieces of the browned rooster or hen pieces back into pot;

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium heat.  Cover and cook for approximately 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat begins to fall off of the bones or is very tender.

At this point, I like to remove all of the meat and bones – returning only meat back into the pot;

Taste for seasonings and add salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.

Serve over medium egg noodles, fresh rice or potatoes;

Finally, after all of the anticipation of cooking my first Coq au Vin – as I finally sat down and tasted this beautiful traditional French dish, I sat back in amazement… this is the best thing that I have ever cooked!  Who would ever imagine that a rooster could turn into my favorite dish?  But, the deep rich flavors of this “very proud” bird captured my heart and pleased my palate… Gotreaux’s Farm – keep the roosters coming!

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