this one's for you, patty: COQ AU VIN

the boy and i don't make a big deal about valentine's day. we are fortunate if we actually see each other on that day, seeing as he's in the restaurant industry and all. when we first met and were working at the same Big Ass Corporation where i still work, we got paid on the 15th and 30th of the month. this kind of put a damper on our first valentine's day together, so we said, Fuck It and had a nice lobster dinner at home on the 15th. since then, the tradition of Fuck It has stuck, and we don't feel compelled to get each other cards or flowers or dorky stuffed animals unless we want to. make your Significant Other some fancypants dinner, served in the nude if possible, and be done with it.

the boy works the day shift at his current job, but had anticipated a long day yesterday and would be coming home right around dinnertime. earlier in the week, i asked him what he wanted to eat On That Day, and he said "Anything out of the Les Halles cookbook ", so i made him coq au vin.

which, seriously, is like the best shit ever.

like any good old school french recipe, this is a two-day process. day one: buy wine and chicken. you probably have the rest of the supplies rotting in your so-called "crisper" drawer in the fridge. one onion, one celery rib, one carrot hacked up and into a large bowl. bouquet garni, which i got supremelly lazy about and didnt tie up, thrown in. handful of peppercorns, a few cloves, toss that in. open wine and empty the whole bottle, add chicken. cover, put in fridge overnight.

yesterday afternoon, i fished the chicken out of the marinade and man, what a fugly friggin piece of meat it was. it has got to be the only foodstuff that is dusty rose in color, kind of like your grandmother's living room wallpaper. blech! i also noticed that i didn't cut off the wing tips like good ol' bourdain tells you to (woops), so they were all dangly and pinkefied. salt and pepper the bitch, and into the dutch oven with some butter and oil to brown on all sides (tee hee, i said Dutch Oven. yeah, fifth grade humor never ceases to amuse me. anyway...)

it's kind of hard to tell when it's becoming browned, as the dusty rose tends to interfere colorwise, but you can tell by looking at the texture. yank that out and add the veggies from the marinade (sans bouquet garni, and since i didn't tie it together, i had to fish each bit out manually) and sauté those for a bit.

it was about this time that i decided to pour myself a glass or two of wine. after all, i needed more wine for later on in the recipe, so open wine i did. after a few copious gulps on my empty stomach i got giddy and thought it would be a fine time to toast the chicken. cìn cìn!

it was also about this time that i realized my dutch oven (hee) was far too large for what i was trying to accomplish, so out came our smaller le creuset. the reason i'm writing this is because i dont want people to think i'm just showing off my plethera of Le Creuset cookware because i'm a snob; that's not what i'm all about. but hey, how bout that? check out my fire red le creuset! isn't it nifty? after the transition to the smaller cooking vessel, i added some flour to coat the veggies, poured the marinade wine back in, tossed in the original bouquet garni, and added the chicken. simmer for an hour + 15 minutes. since the chicken's butt was sticking out, after a half hour of cooking or so, i flipped it over (and got wine splatters all over the place) to cook right side up for a bit before flipping it back over.

coq au vin calls for mushrooms, pearl onions, and bacon (lardons). i dont use mushrooms because the boy isn't into them. i couldnt find slab bacon, so i used thick cut and hacked that up into lardons shapes. this picture shows off the new global knife that the boy got me off of eBay for next to nothing. i like it. i do like knives. the bacon gets fried up and set aside to drain. then you have to cook the pearl onions, and bourdain tells you to put them in a saucepan barely covered with water, pinch of sugar, pinch of salt, and butter. cover with a bit of parchement and cook until the water is gone, then keep cooking until the onions are delicously browned. i almost dove in and ate those up but i restrained myself. after removing the onions, i added about a cup of the wine i opened earlier and let that reduce and bubble away nicely.

when the chicken was cooked through, i hauled it out, strained out the veggies from the now-cooked marinade, and added the marinade to the reduced wine along with the yummarific looking onions and bacon bits.

a little dismemberment of the chicken took place. bourdain says to hack it up into four, but i kind of cut it up similarly to the way i cut up a simple roast chicken. we each got a bowl of wide egg noodles topped with chicken pieces and some of that now-fantastic sauce, and the boy was happy. he was so tired from the long ass day at work, that he went to bed pretty soon after eating, but not before thanking me profusely for the tasty dinner. we have a boatload of leftovers, so we'll probably be eating that again tonight. woe is me...


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