There is a bit of a family history with this dish. My mum is an amazing cook, we have eaten very well over my lifetime. But because my Grammy wanted my mum do well in school she didn’t spend a lot of time learning in the kitchen. Mum did very well in school and college but didn’t have a lot of dishes under her belt when she got married. The joke was she knew how to boil water and make coq au vin. An exaggeration I think but you get my point. Early in their marriage my dad had a friend to dinner and mum made this dish. Afterwards he asked my dad if he ate like this all the time. Of course my dad said yes! 🙂
I have never made this before but I thought it would be a great meal to serve my in-laws who are visiting from England. I looked up Julia Child’s recipe to use as a guide. One thing I definitely cut back on was the fat that was in hers. It was an awful lot! This is not a difficult dish and mine came out rustic looking but the flavour was really good and I’m not sure why I waited so long to make this.
As I didn’t have an oven proof pot big enough for this meal I did all of this on the stove top. I will be looking for some oven proof vessels in the future as you can pop it in the oven and walk away for awhile. For this I used two pans. A very large skillet and a smaller one for the mushrooms and onions.
This is the Julia Child recipe if you are interested.
I chopped up 4 slices of streaky bacon and cooked slowly in the pan to render the fat.
While this is cooking I prep the chicken. I found some lovely chicken legs at our co-op on sale. Season with salt and pepper.
Once the bacon is cooked remove and set aside. Place the chicken in the hot bacon fat to brown on both sides.
While this is browning I prep the mushrooms and onions which are coarsely chopped and I saute them in olive oil.
Once the chicken is browned I add 1/4 cup of brandy. The recipe calls for cognac but I use what I have! The recipe also calls for lighting the brandy but given how much bacon fat was in there I wasn’t sure I could do that safely so I didn’t do that step. Didn’t negatively affect the outcome. Then I add 3 cups of red wine. Choose a medium bodied one for this that isn’t too acidic. Make sure you have enough to drink some with dinner! Then add enough bouillon to cover the chicken. I used a few cups of veg bouillon.
Bring this to a simmer and add a bay leaf and some fresh thyme. I also added a bit of non-diluted bouillon to balance out the wine flavour at this time. The recipe calls for tomato paste but I didn’t have any which is unusual so I used a tablespoon of ketchup. Finely chop up a few cloves of garlic and mix it all together.
Add the mushrooms and onions. Cover and simmer for about half an hour until the chicken is tender and cooked.
Remove the chicken and thicken the sauce to the level you desire with flour or corn starch. Bring to a boil to reduce the sauce a bit. Then put the chicken back in to make sure it is warm and it is ready to serve.
We served it with roasted potatoes and asparagus. The chicken was so incredibly moist with this dish. Just full of flavour!