Life is short. Even if you can't visit foreign countries, you can bring world cuisine to your home.
A Classic French Recipe
I’ve never been to France but have always dreamed that one day I’d visit. So, until that day comes, I’ll stick with making French food.
Years ago, my brothers gave me Julia Child's cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Combine this with my love for the movie Julie & Julia and now, I want to make French food all the time.
I’ve tasted my share of French dishes—some I like more than others. I’ll never forget the first (and last) time I tried escargot. I was at a French restaurant in Atlanta with my aunt and cousin. My aunt ordered the escargot and asked me to try it. Admittedly, I didn’t know what to expect. Cooked snails were swimming in butter. I tried one, but all I could say about it was, “Well, that was a good snail.”
That was a lie. I have no idea what makes a good snail. Instead, I’ll stick with proteins I do know, such as chicken.
Coq au vin. Where exactly did this dish originate? At its core, it is chicken braised in wine, and cooks across the world have been braising chicken in wine (red or white) for ages. Some cooks serve it over mashed potatoes or rice, while others serve it solo. I prefer the latter because with its healthy dose of chicken and vegetables, I find very little room for any side dishes. It’s that filling.
Why Choose This Coq au Vin Recipe?
I’ve tried cooking my share of French recipes. More often than not, they take hours to prepare. Yet, this particular recipe can be made in little time, so it’s perfect for a weekday evening meal. But wait, there’s more than just how quickly you can make it:
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- Easy: Forget about a complicated list of ingredients or 20 steps. And this dish is made with only two main tools: a baking dish and a large skillet.
- Healthy: Most French recipes are made with ample amounts of butter or cream. This recipe requires neither. And it has a solid amount of mushrooms, carrots, and onions. Vegetables are what everyone needs more of, right?
- Versatile: If you really wanted to make this even healthier, replace the red wine with red wine vinegar, or the chicken thighs for chicken breasts.
Yield: 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 9 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups beef stock
- ¼ cup red wine (or red wine vinegar)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Cook for 6 minutes, then flip chicken thighs and cook for another 6 minutes. Transfer to the prepared baking pan. Chicken will not be cooked through.
- In the same large skillet, add mushrooms, onions, and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.
- Stir in salt, garlic, thyme, tomato paste, beef stock, and red wine. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- Pour vegetable mixture over chicken in prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
Coq au vin is the perfect dish that looks fancy and makes your guests think you went to a lot of trouble when you really didn’t. Here are some tips:
- Reduce your prep time by cutting the vegetables from the night before (or purchase pre-cut vegetables).
- Don’t skip searing the chicken in the skillet. Searing the chicken on either side holds in moisture, so the meat is even more tender after it then cooks in the vegetable mixture.
- Feel free to play with vegetables, such as adding in root vegetables like potatoes, or summer vegetables like squash or zucchini.
- Crusty bread is really delicious when paired with this meal.
Mary Rebecca Says
When you can’t visit France, visit the country in your kitchen. For more inspiration, watch the movie Julie & Julia, which will inspire you to try all the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.