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JoziStyle is a celebration of Jozi as we explore what to eat, where to go, and who to know in Johannesburg. You can follow JoziStyle on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram– and you can listen to JoziStyle on Radio Today every Friday at 1 PM!

The French Temptation of Coq Au Vin


Craving a hearty, soul-warming meal that’s bursting with flavour? Then look no further than Coq Au Vin, a French classic with a surprisingly unfussy approach. This dish translates to “Rooster in Wine,” and while the traditional recipe uses rooster, fear not! This South African rendition offers a practical and flavourful twist.

Coq Au Vin boasts a flavour profile that’s nothing short of divine. Bacon, mushrooms, and chicken – that’s the holy trinity right there! Add a splash of red wine and a touch of cream, and you’ve got a flavour explosion waiting to happen.

Let’s dispel the myth that Coq Au Vin is complicated. At its core, it’s simply chicken luxuriating in a slow-cooked red wine sauce. Yes, it’s unapologetically rich and decadent, but that’s precisely what makes it so comforting. Think of it as an excuse to indulge in a good bottle of red wine, using some to flavour the dish and the rest for your personal enjoyment.

Picture this: a sumptuous French classic, Coq Au Vin, simmering slowly in a rich red wine sauce, infusing the air with tantalizing aromas. It’s not just a dish; it’s a journey into temptation, a celebration of flavours, and a testament to culinary finesse. Join me as we delve into the world of Coq Au Vin, uncovering its rich history, unravelling its secrets, and mastering the art of its creation.

Coq Au Vin, a timeless French dish, boasts a heritage as rich as its flavours. Originating as a peasant’s meal, it has transcended centuries to become a symbol of indulgence and comfort. At its core, Coq Au Vin is a harmonious marriage of chicken, bacon, mushrooms, and wine, slow-cooked to perfection.

Let’s debunk the myth surrounding Coq Au Vin—it’s not an enigma reserved for culinary elites; it’s essentially chicken stewed in red wine. Don’t let its French origins intimidate you; embrace it as a delightful excuse to savour the goodness of red wine-infused chicken, a culinary adventure within reach of every home cook.

In the world of Coq Au Vin, simplicity reigns supreme. Alongside the star ingredients—chicken and wine—bacon takes centre stage, infusing the dish with its savoury essence. And for those craving an extra touch of indulgence, a splash of cream elevates the sauce to creamy perfection, a guilty pleasure worth every bite.

Coq Au Vin is more than just a recipe; it’s a canvas for creativity. Feel free to experiment with ingredients and proportions, tailoring the dish to suit your preferences. Whether you opt for lardons, pancetta, or good old-fashioned bacon, let your culinary instincts guide you on a flavorful journey.

Attention to detail is key when preparing Coq Au Vin. Saute your ingredients separately to coax out their full flavours before transferring them to the oven or slow cooker. Embrace the slow-cooking process, allowing the dish to simmer gently until the chicken is tender and infused with the essence of wine and herbs.

The beauty of Coq Au Vin lies in its versatility. Serve it alongside creamy mashed potatoes or fluffy rice for a cosy winter meal, allowing the velvety sauce to envelop each bite. In the warmer months, opt for a lighter accompaniment like a crisp salad and crusty bread, perfect for soaking up the savoury juices and savouring every last drop.

As we journey through the world of Coq Au Vin, we discover more than just a recipe; we uncover a culinary legacy steeped in tradition and flavour. From its humble beginnings to its modern-day allure, Coq Au Vin invites us to indulge in the simple pleasures of good food, good company, and good wine. So, dear reader, let us embrace the temptation of Coq Au Vin and savour each delicious moment, one mouthful at a time. Bon appétit!

Economizing with Elegance: South African Twists on a French Classic
In a world where every penny counts, Coq Au Vin offers a thrifty solution without compromising on flavour. Opt for a whole chicken, a cost-effective alternative to individual pieces, and watch as it transforms into a culinary masterpiece. Embrace the art of spatchcocking or breaking down the chicken, unlocking its full potential without breaking the bank.

The beauty of Coq Au Vin lies in its adaptability. While the French traditionally use lardons or pancetta, we South Africans know the magic of bacon! Don’t get hung up on finding fancy ingredients – a good quality bacon will infuse the dish with smoky, porky goodness.

For an extra touch of creaminess, I often add cream to the sauce during winter. Because, well, why not? Life’s too short to deny yourself a bit of indulgence, especially when it comes to a velvety smooth sauce blanketing tender chicken.

Adapt to the Seasons: From Hearty Winter to Summer Salads
Coq Au Vin is a chameleon, adapting to the seasons. During winter, serve it with creamy mashed potatoes or rice to mop up the rich gravy. It becomes a summer delight when transformed into a lighter dish. Use less liquid, grill or roast the chicken pieces, and pair it with a refreshing salad and crusty bread.

A Brief History
The earliest documented recipe for Coq Au Vin dates back to 1864 in an English cookbook, “Cookery for English Households” by a French lady. It seems the French have been trying to teach the English how to cook for centuries, but we won’t judge British cuisine just yet.

Coq Au Vin Recipe

Coq Au Vin DineJoziStyle

Chicken (whole or pieces)
Red wine (any type, but red wine is preferred)
Bacon (lardons or pancetta, but we’ll use bacon, being South Africans)
Garlic
Mushrooms
Onions
Cream (optional)

The Recipe
Sauté the bacon to get that rich porky goodness.
Brown the chicken and set it aside.
Add the vegetables and herbs to get some colour.
Transfer everything to a baking dish or slow cooker.
Cook low and slow (1.5-2.5 hours in the oven or 6-8 hours in a slow cooker).

Tips and Variations
Use a whole chicken for a cost-effective option.
Spatchcock or break the chicken into pieces for quicker cooking.
Add cream for a richer, creamier sauce (optional).
Grill or roast the chicken during summer for a lighter version.
Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, or crusty bread to soak up the juices.
Bon appétit!

So there you have it, a South African’s perspective on this delightful French dish. Coq Au Vin is more than just a meal; it’s an experience. It’s about comfort, indulgence, and creating something delicious from simple ingredients. So grab a bottle of wine, fire up your oven or slow cooker, and get ready to experience a taste of France, right here in South Africa.

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