Nathan and I are both not fans of stews…the flavors can just be too muddy and the texture too mushy. When we saw this summertime version of Coq au Vin, however, we decided to leave our skepticism behind and make this fancy French-named chicken stew. I’m glad we did because this recipe has none of the pitfalls of a normal stew recipe. The chicken is simmered with a range of stew vegetables but they are strained out so you don’t have the melange of soft vegetables. Then mushrooms are added in at the end so you have a vegetable component but it’s not overcooked. The best part about this stew is that the chicken is SO tender and flavorful after being poached in the white wine sauce. In short…this is the stew for non stew lovers!
I was actually a little nervous about how this wine would work because it isn’t technically a dry Riesling….it’s an off-dry Riesling which means that it’s slightly sweet. Why did I get an off-dry Riesling instead a dry Riesling, you ask? Well, it’s because this was the only option under $20 dollars and I didn’t feel like spending that much on a wine that would be used primarily for cooking. It ended being a good choice though! The sweetness was like the juiciness of a good peach or pear…not overpowering or cloying in any way. Definitely one I would buy again!
While this beer was good I was hoping for a beer closer to a Saison with some pepper and lemon to cut through the rich flavors of the sauce and to compliment the riesling. For a farm house ale I felt that it was a little too malty and combined with the wheaty and earthy flavors it was a bit heavy. That being said, it is still a very drinkable beer and I’m not going to hesitate to drink the rest of the 6 pack.
Coq Au Riesling:
Takes approximately 2 hours
From this recipe
5-pound whole chicken
Salt and pepper
2 slices bacon
3 shallots, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped coarse
2 celery ribs, chopped coarse
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups dry Riesling (leaving 1 glass to drink)
1 cup water
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh parsley, plus 2 teaspoons minced
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 pound white mushrooms
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1. Break down your chicken, removing the major components, setting aside the wings and back. Cut each breast in half; so you should be left with a total of 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs). Remove the skin from chicken breast pieces, drumsticks, and thighs; setting aside to use in Step 3.
2. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with a total of 1-1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside until Step 7.
3. Chop bacon. Set a large Dutch oven over medium-low burner, add bacon and stir occasionally until it begins to render the fat, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken skin, back, and wings to pot, and increase burner to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, for 12 to 15 minutes. Mine took 20 minutes before the bacon browned. The skin should also have rendered it’s fat and the chicken back and wings should be browned on all sides.
4. Meanwhile peel and chop your shallots. Peel and coarsely chop your carrots. coarsely chop the celery. Peel and smash your garlic (no need to mince or press your garlic).
5. Temporarily remove the pot from burner and remove and reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat to small bowl; set aside until Step 10.
6. Return pot to burner (still medium). Add chopped shallots, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stir occasionally, until the vegetables become softened. Add 3 tablespoons flour and cook and stir for 30 seconds. Slowly add wine and deglaze the pan, using a metal spatula.
7.Increase burner to high and simmer for 2 minutes until it slightly thickened. Add 1 cup water, 2 bay leaves, 6 parsley sprigs, and 6 thyme sprigs, and bring up to a simmer. Set chicken pieces in an even layer in pot. Turn down burner to low, cover pot, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Remove the chicken pieces as each piece comes up to temperature; i.e. the breasts measure 160 degrees and thighs and legs register 175 degrees.
8. While the chicken cooks prepare your mushrooms by trimming the stems. Cut small mushrooms in half and quarter any large mushrooms.
9. Fish out and discard the back and wings. Empty the pot into a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Press down on the solids to remove as much liquid as possible. Allow to settle for 10 minutes, then use a wide spoon to remove and discard any surface fat.
10. Meanwhile while the liquid settles, put the now-empty pot over medium burner. Add the fat reserved in Step 5, cut mushrooms, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir occasionally for 10 minutes until lightly browned (mine took 16 minutes because they release so much liquid that they wouldn’t brown)
11.Return the cooking liquid to the bot and bring up to a boil. Reduce burner to maintain a brisk simmer for 5 to 6 minutes until the sauce has the consistency of heavy cream, stir occasionally.
12. Turn down burner to medium low. Add in crème fraîche and minced parsley. Stir until combined. Add chicken pieces and any juices from the plate. Cook, covered, for 5 to 8 minutes until the chicken is heated through. Adjust salt and pepper according to your taste.
13. Serve over buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes.