Some time ago a friend sent a picture with a lone word ‘Fernweh’ and its meaning. The word has stuck ever since because it kinda describes me every other day.
‘Fernweh’ is a German word which can replaced with the English word ‘Wanderlust’; a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world.
I think the reason I love preparing dishes from all over the world is because although I love travelling, sometimes I can’t afford to for one reason or the other. So I say, ‘Why not let my taste buds travel in my stead’?
Today we will be trying a little bit of French cooking. Coq au Vin is a classic recipe cooked all over France although with some variations in different regions. The recipe I used was originally gotten from foodnetwork.com however because of the Nigerian factor (or should I say the Benin factor)* I had to tweak it.
2 chicken thighs and legs, cut into serving pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
175g Bacon, cubed
165g button mushrooms, halved (I used tinned mushrooms. Although the original recipe required them to be quartered I halved them because they r softer and was scared of having a mushy mess)
1 (750-ml) bottle red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium onion, quartered
2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 leveled tablespoon dry thyme
1 bay leaf
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1. Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. Place the chicken pieces, a few at a time, into a large (1 or 2-gallon) sealable plastic bag along with the flour. I was out of ziploc bag so used a plate. You will achieve the same end result but using a ziploc is faster and easier to handle. Shake to coat all of the pieces of the chicken.
3. Remove the chicken from the bag to a metal rack.
4. Add the 2 tablespoons of water to a large, pan over medium heat along with the bacon. Cover and cook until the water is gone, and then continue to cook until the bacon cubes are golden brown and crispy, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside.
5. In the same pan, using the remaining fat, add the onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and saute until lightly brown, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
6. Next, brown the chicken pieces on each side until golden brown, working in batches if necessary to not overcrowd the pan. Transfer the chicken into a cast iron Dutch oven. I used a wok instead.
Note: You should use a heavy bottom pan if you do not have a dutch oven
7. Add the mushrooms to the same pan, adding the 1 tablespoon of butter if needed, and saute until they give up their liquid, approximately 5 minutes.
Note: I skipped this step because I used tinned mushrooms. Again, I was scared of getting it too soft.
Store the onions, mushrooms and bacon in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
8. Pour off any remaining fat and deglaze the pan with approximately 1 cup of the wine. Pour this into the Dutch oven (wok) along with the chicken stock, tomato paste, quartered onion, carrots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Add all of the remaining wine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
9. The next day, on low heat cook chicken for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the chicken is tender. Maintain a very gentle simmer and stir occasionally.
10. Once the chicken is done, remove it to a heatproof container, cover, and place it in the oven to keep warm. Strain the sauce in acolander and remove the carrots, onion, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Return the sauce to the pot, place over medium heat, and reduce by 1/3. Depending on how much liquid you actually began with, this should take 10 to 25 minutes.
11. Once the sauce has thickened, add the sauteed onions, mushrooms, and bacon and cook for another 10 minutes or until the heated through.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, remove from the heat, add the chicken and serve. Serve over egg noodles, if desired.