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How To Make Coq au Vin

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The name is enough to strike fear into the heart of even the most experienced chef. However, despite it's lengthy ingredient list, Coq au Vin is easy to make and is perfect winter food; substantial, rich, spicy and moreish.
What you'll need: 
Large chicken, jointed
700 ml red wine (merlot/pinot noir/shiraz)
Olive oil and butter
Large onion/15 pearl onions
4-5 cloves garlic
200g cubed streaky bacon
250 ml chicken stock
15-20 button mushrooms
Fresh thyme, oregano and bay leaves
Flat-leaf parsley
Heat 20ml of olive oil and 20g of butter in a large, heavy frying pan. Add the jointed chicken pieces, frying on both sides until the skin is browned. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
Add the chopped onion, pearl onions and bacon to the pan. Fry gently until both bacon and onions begin to brown. Add the sliced garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, 2-3 large sprigs of fresh thyme and a small amount of fresh or dried oregano. Continue to fry the mixture for a few minutes before returning the chicken to the pan.
Pour 250ml of chicken stock and 700ml of red wine into the pan. Add the mushrooms before sealing the pan with a lid. Gently simmer for 45-60 minutes periodically checking the tenderness of the chicken and ensuring that the pan doesn't boil dry.
Separate the liquid from the chicken, bacon, onion and mushrooms. Return the stock and wine mixture to the pan, add a large knob of butter and 1 level tablespoon of cornflour mixed into a paste in cool water.
Set the liquid to a fast boil until it has thickened and reduced by a 1/3. Discard the bay leaves and thyme before placing the chicken, bacon, onion and mushrooms in a warmed serving dish. Pour the liquid into the dish and serve.
Though a multi-stage cooking process, Coq au Vin is an easy winter or dinner party meal. It can be prepared in advance, its flavours being allowed to develop before it is served.
Leave the skin on the chicken. This adds a level of texture, richness and extra flavour.
Though you needn't use your best wine for this recipe, it is a dominant ingredient and you should therefore use a good quality wine.
A good rule of thumb when cooking with wine is: If you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it!


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