Sunday, March 14, 2010

Coq au Vin, Yukon and Celery Root mash

Lately, I have been taking the time to reconnect with friends.
I am usually so wrapped up in projects, struggling every spare moment to make art, consumed by images in my mind that need to find their way on a canvas.

I put that aside for the last 2-3 months and frankly, it has done wonders. I don't remember the last time that I was so excited by a season change - I usually don't see it coming. I am having dinner with friends about 2 nights a week, I can't believe it has been years since I have seen some of them - it barely seems like more than 6 months, all is going so fast. You need to slow down life.

Two very dear friends from grade school came over for dinner. I wanted something 'hostess friendly', a meal that I did not need to tend to... The solution was a coq au vin. I had never done this myself, it was easy and I did all the prep in about 45 minutes. Did the mash beforehand too, and prepped all my veggies to be roasted.

I bought the chicken at Aubrey's in the market, it was surprisingly inexpensive and bonus, it was wrapped in paper, doesn't that make you smile? I can't remember the last time my chicken, even organic and grain fed, seemed so exciting.

I cut the chicken into 8 pieces and left some skin on as recommended by Candice who gave me the recipe. It can also be done with chicken breasts if you don't want the hassle of cutting up a bird - but frankly, it is worth it to get a good pair of scissors and do it, you will have more flavour.

I added and modified (because I just can't help myself...), don't be afraid to do the same... taste taste taste and adjust.

Coq au Vin

1 large chicken cut into 8 pieces
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 slices bacon
1/3 cup brandy
3 cloves garlic
1 lb pearl onions, peeled
2 cups button mushrooms, halved
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
2 cups red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf, thyme and parsley - tied together
1 cup canned tomatoes, chopped
2 shallots, finely minced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp cold butter

Heat a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon and drain on a paper towel. Chop into small pieces and put aside for later.

Coat the chicken pieces in the flour. Add the pearl onions to the pan and fry until they begin to brown. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. Add the chicken to the hot pan and brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes, add the Tbsp of butter to the mushrooms. Once browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

Place the chicken back into the sauté pan, pour the brandy over the chicken and ignite (I am always scared of doing this, so I cook it down...). Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic, shallots, bayleaf, mustard, red wine, chicken stock, tomatoes, herbs and balsamic vinegar. Allow the chicken to cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

(This was enough time for me to shower and dress ha ha!)

Remove the chicken from the pan. On high heat, reduce the sauce until it reaches a heavy cream consistency. Swirl in the cold butter. Add the chicken, onions and mushrooms back to the pan, heat gently until hot and serve!!

Yukon and Celery Root Mash

6-7 medium sized Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1/2 large celery root, chopped into large pieces
Butter and cream to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes and celery root until soft. Drain, mash and return to the pan. Cook to remove all moisture. Add he cream, butter and salt & pepper before serving

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