Coq au Vin 343/365
"People eat because they're hungry. I want to make food that makes people stop eating." -- Bradley Cooper in Burnt.
Have you seen the movie? I really liked it because the viewer had to read between the spoken lines. And the dishes served? Nothing short of a work of art. Just as beautiful as I'm sure delicious. Mr. Wild Dingo had to stop half way through the movie because the Chef (Bradley Cooper) had a melt down in the kitchen that seemed extreme to him. But I remember working as a waitress for an Italian restaurant and it really wasn't too far off from how great kitchens work. I lost count how many times the chef screamed at me. I'm not sure if it was the Italian in him or the chef in him that made him do it. But at the end of the day, he was a decent person. Great chefs pour their souls into their art and sometimes they only have one chance not to screw it up. Histrionics in the kitchen just doesn't ruffle my feathers so badly. In fact, I kind of liked it. Feels like home.
I never really cooked much because I never really had time between working and athletic hobbies. But when I stopped working in 2010 for my health and our move to Switzerland, I had a lot of quality time on my hands to teach myself. Even so, I never got around to trying my hand at Coq au Vin, because I'm not a fan of chicken and it seemed like a lot of effort to go through just for a meat I don't find exciting. But this dish has changed my mind forever about chicken. Julia Child's recipe is slightly more complex in that she braises the mushrooms and shallots separately in different pans, she simmers her bacon before sauteing it, and she flambes the chicken in cognac before adding a bold wine like Cote de Rhone or Burgundy. I've yet to flambe anything yet because it scares the crap out of me. But the day I try it, there will be photos of either a master piece or a burned down kitchen.
I found this recipe below is simpler, using one stove-to-oven pan, yet still achieves a layered, complex flavor by braising ingredients separately before combining them all to be braised in a lighter Pinot Noir wine. I chose to use my new 5-quart enameled cast iron braiser that was a Christmas gift and it worked fantastically for this dish. The sauce was utterly devine and made the chicken so flavorful.