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Coq au vin

February 21, 2007

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Serves 4

2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bay leaf
5 sprigs thyme
10 black peppercorns
4 ounces bacon, sliced 1/4-inch thick
16 pearl onions
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 1/2 pounds chicken legs or thighs (skin on), patted dry
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound button or crimini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered

1. On a piece of cheesecloth, combine the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns. Tie the cloth into a bundle.

2. In a large flameproof casserole, render the bacon over medium heat for 5 minutes or until it starts turning brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.

3. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer the onions to a bowl.

4. Discard the fat from the pan. Set the pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, or enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the chicken all over with salt and pepper.

5. Cook half the chicken, skin-side down, without moving, for 2 to 3 minutes or until brown. Turn and brown the other side. Transfer to a plate. Add more oil as needed. Brown the remaining chicken in the same way.

6. Pour off the excess oil in the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter. When it melts, whisk in the flour and cook over low heat for 1 minute or until it is golden brown. Whisk in the wine, tomato paste, and stock. Return the chicken, onions, and bacon to the pan. Add the cheesecloth bundle. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat. Simmer for 35 minutes.

7. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until they release their liquid. Turn up the heat and continue cooking until the liquid evaporates.

8. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken, onions, and bacon from the pan and transfer to a bowl. Discard the cheesecloth bundle. Let the cooking liquid bubble steadily until it reduces by about two-thirds. Skim it from time to time. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if you like.

9. Return the chicken, onions, and bacon to the pan. Add the mushrooms. Turn the heat to low. Spoon the sauce over the chicken mixture and cook for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is hot. -- Jill Santopietro

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