Parlez-Vous Coq au Vin?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chicken in wine. That’s what it is. If you tell yourself, “It’s simply chicken in wine,” then coq au vin will become a jumpable hurdle, a reachable goal, a climbable wall.

Or, you can just walk into your friend’s house after she’s already labored over it and nearly lick your bowl clean.

Coq Au Vin

courtesy of Ina Garten

4 ounces good bacon, diced

1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces

1 yellow onion, sliced

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy

1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy

1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade

10 fresh thyme sprigs

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 pound frozen small whole onions

1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlicand cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to thestew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

Shrimp Farfalle with Peas and Cilantro

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I was off from work today. Something about Cesar Chavez, yadda yadda. I had all of these grand plans – laundry, work, bathing the dog…


What did I really do? Watched copious amounts of 48 Hours, Dateline and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, napped, pondered the state of my eyebrows and went to Target to buy roughly $75 worth of stuff I totally did not need.


Yeah, I’d call that success.


Unfortunately, 5pm rolled around and I was ravenous. Hi – I may as well be living in a nursing home. Blue plate special, anyone?

Luckily, this meal is delicious, easy and fast. I recommend following it up with Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food.


Shrimp Farfalle with Peas and Cilantro

2 cups farfalle pasta

1 Tb unsalted butter

1 large shallot, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cups frozen green peas

1 Tb chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 lb frozen cooked shrimp

1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese


Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and shallot to pan and cook until shrimp are dethawed; add garlic, salt and pepper and peas and cook on medium for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta. Drain pasta and add to saucepan; stir in cilantro and Parmesan.

Girls’ Night Gets Fancy: Curried Carrot Soup and Tarragon-Braised Chicken

Monday, March 28, 2011

Look. I’m the last person who is going to get on your case about whipping up a quick lasagna, or ordering a pizza when your friends come over for a low-key movie night. This gets harder and harder to do now that 98.4% of my friends have figured out I’m a food blogger (the other 1.6% just think I’m a nutcase for photographing a pan of sautéing onions). However, some nights just call for adding a

touch of pizzazz. Enter my friend, Carolyn (I affectionately refer to her as Caro Syrup. I dunno why. I could be because everything = food to me) who brought over the ingredients for a delicious soup and a comforting side dish.


Curried Carrot Soup with Roasted Almonds

1/4 lb frozen carrots

2 tsp olive oil

1 small white onion, sliced

1 tsp minced garlic

3/4 tsp mild or medium curry powder

1/2 tsp salt

4 cups chicken broth (use veggie to make vegan!)

1/2 cup chopped or slivered almonds


Steam carrots on stove or in microwave according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium pot. Add onion and sauté on medium heat until translucent and beginning to brown. Stir in garlic, curry powder and salt, and cook until fragrant. Transfer to a blender or food processor and add cooked carrots. Add 2 cups broth, and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture back to pot, turn heat to high, and stir in remaining broth. Bring to a simmer and season with more salt, if necessary. Divide among bowls and top with almonds.


Braised Chicken with Red Potatoes and Tarragon Broth

2 tsp olive oil

1/3 cup finely chopped shallots

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, chopped into bite-size pieces

2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 12-oz package red potato wedges

2 Tb chopped fresh flat-leaf pieces


Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots to pan and sauté 1 minute. Add chicken and sauté 2 minutes or until browned. Add broth, wine tarragon, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add potatoes; simmer 5 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat; stir in parsley.