Coq Au Vin Caliente

 

This is my all-time favorite coq recipe, developed during my early New Mexico years. Fired with caribe and flamed with cognac, it’s a fabulous dish with a perfect marriage of flavors, certain to be a hit with family and guests—though you may want to hoard it all for yourself! Since this stew is so robust, accompany it with a soothing side dish. And, never, ever waste a drop of the savory sauce; if you have any leftover, freeze it for later use. It’s wonderful in all kinds of stews.

Yield: 6 servings

Cooking Time:

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons caribe (crushed Northern New Mexico red chile)

1 teaspoon salt

1 (3 ½ to 4 pound) broiler-fryer chicken, cut for frying

½ cup unsalted butter

6 Tablespoons cognac

1 clove garlic, minced

1 fresh bay leaf

4 sprigs fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ cup minced flat-leaf parsley

6 small white boiling onions, peeled

½ pound fresh mushrooms, any kind, sliced

6 slices thick bacon, heavily smoked country style sliced into ½ inch pieces

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup Burgundy or other good quality dry red wine

Fried Croutons

French bread, cut in 1 inch cubes

Olive oil

Unsalted butter

  1. In a paper bag or large shallow bowl, mix flour, caribe and salt. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large deep, heavy skillet (or in a chicken fryer) over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and cook until browned on all sides, turning as needed; adjust heat as necessary to prevent over-browning.

  1. Add cognac to hot skillet and flame carefully, keeping a lid nearby to extinguish flames should they rise too high. When flames die, stir in garlic, bay leaf, thyme, 3 Tablespoons of the parsley, onions, mushrooms, bacon, and a generous grinding of black pepper. Pour wine over all. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 45 minutes, or until chicken is tender and sauce is thickened.

  1. Meanwhile, prepare Fried Croutons. In a skillet, toast French bread cubes in a mixture of half oil and half melted butter until light golden on all sides, stirring as needed. Cool.

  1. To serve, place chicken on a large warmed platter and cover with sauce, arranging onions decoratively around chicken. Sprinkle croutons over the top, and then sprinkle with remaining 1 Tablespoon parsley.

Reprinted from the book “Hotter Then Hell”

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