Le Cordon Bleu Coq au Vin

 

Coq au Vin

I learned this Coq au Vin recipe at the Le Cordon Bleu School in Paris, so it should be ‘authentic’, right? The truth is, there are quite a few variations for this dish, but they all have the same thing in common: a chicken stew cooked in wine, accompanied by mushrooms, smoked bacon and onions and sprinkled with parsley. I’ve added some homemade croutons to my dish for a French rustic touch.

Coq au Vin is a French country dish, evolved from the farm where the resident rooster was cooked in a pot when it could no longer ‘service’ the hens. The rooster’s  blood was often used to thicken the stew- in fact, we were given the option of thickening our Coq au Vin with pig’s blood at Le Cordon Bleu. (FYI, no one in my class opted to use this technique, instead thickening the sauce with butter and flour. In fact, the chef said she would refuse to taste our dish if we used the blood!).

There are some variations for this dish: the Cordon Bleu recipe recommends that you first marinate the chicken pieces in red wine, preferably overnight. As a comparison, Julia Child omits this step with her dish, getting right into cooking the chicken with the wine and stock. (I know which method I’d prefer)! Cordon Bleu also recommends cooking the chicken in both wine and aromatic vegetables, such as carrots and celery. The vegetables, which are eventually discarded, help to give your sauce a much deeper flavour at the end.

And finally, this dish is served so that you can identify each of the ingredients on the plate. In fact, most of the elements are cooked separately (i.e. the mushrooms, onions and bacon) and are then all assembled at the end. No more having the chicken and mushrooms lost in an avalanche of sauce- each ingredient ‘takes pride of place’ and can easily be identified. This dish is Country French at its best!

P.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! 

Authentic Coq au Vin
Serves 4
An authentic French stew, flavored with thick bacon, mushrooms and onions
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Total Time
2 hr
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
1 hr 15 min
Total Time
2 hr
Marinade
  1. 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  2. 2 carrots, chopped
  3. 2 celery stalks, chopped
  4. 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  5. 1 Bouquet Garni (2 bay leaves and several sprigs of thyme tied together)
  6. 8 - 10 black peppercorns
  7. 4 cups red wine
  8. 1/4 Cognac (optional)
Main Ingredients
  1. 1 chicken, cut-up into pieces, with bones in
  2. salt and pepper to season the chicken
  3. 1 - 2 cups chicken stock
  4. 1 Bouquet Garni
  5. 3 tbsp plain flour
Onion ‘Confit’
  1. 1/2 cup red wine, reduced to a glaze
  2. 1/4 cup white vinegar
  3. 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  4. 2 tbsp butter
  5. 1/4 cup water
  6. Pinch salt and sugar
  7. Binding (thickening) agent (beurre manié)
  8. 3 tbsp flour
  9. 2 tbsp softened butter
Garnish
  1. 15 - 20 button mushrooms
  2. 8 ounces speck (smoked slab bacon)
  3. 3 tbsp parsley, chopped
  4. Crusty bread rolls or baguettes, brushed with oil or butter, toasted in oven
Instructions
  1. Place all marinade ingredients in a large bowl; add the chicken pieces to the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight if possible.
  2. Remove chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towel. Set aside the marinade mixture for later.
  3. Heat several tbsps. of oil in a Dutch oven or large casserole dish. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then brown in several batches over medium high heat, about 3 minutes each side. Remove from the pan and drain the fat.
  4. Now add the following ingredients back to the Dutch oven or pan: browned chicken pieces, wine and vegetables from the marinade, flour and Bouquet Garni. Add enough of the chicken stock to cover the ingredients (1 - 2 cups of stock). Place cover on the pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the chicken meat is tender.
  5. While the chicken is baking, prepare the onion ‘confit.’ Place sliced onions into fry pan with some butter, add the water, pinch of salt and sugar. Cover with parchment paper and simmer over medium low heat until the oinions soften and the moisture reduces.
  6. In separate small saucepan, reduce the 1/2 cup red wine until it becomes syrup, add the vinegar and simmer for several minutes. Add this mixture to the ‘confit’ onions and set aside.
  7. Sauté the button mushrooms in butter for several minutes until soft and set aside.
  8. Cut the bacon speck into thin strips about 1 inch long and ¼ inch wide, add some oil to a fry pan and brown for several minutes over medium high heat. Remove the bacon from the pan, pat dry with a paper towel and add the bacon to the mushrooms.
  9. When the chicken pieces are cooked, remove the pan from oven, set aside the chicken pieces, strain the vegetables and herbs from the cooking liquid and discard. Reduce the cooking liquid over medium heat until it reduces to about 2/3 of the original volume. To prepare the thickening agent, massage the butter and flour together with your fingers to form a smooth paste. Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whisk and simmer for several minutes until the sauce thickens. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, adjust seasoning to taste.
  10. To serve, add the ‘confit’ onion mixture to the bottom of the serving dish, arrange the chicken pieces, speck and button mushrooms around the dish and then pour some sauce on top. Be careful not to 'drown' the ingredients with the sauce, you still should be able to make out the individual ingredients in the dish.
  11. Garnish with chopped parsley and several pieces of toasted baguettes.
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu recipe
Adapted from Le Cordon Bleu recipe
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

 

 

 

‘Little Black Dress’ Chocolate Cake

 

I’ve frequently read that a ‘little black dress’ is an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe- something that can easily be dressed down or up according to the occasion. I must admit I always felt a little intimidated about wearing a little black dress, preferring a knee-length skirt with perhaps some ‘sensible shoes’ instead.

But no more! I’ve come out of the shadows and now proudly parade my special ‘little black dress’- Chocolate Cake– that is! This cake is almost like eating pure fudge with a chocolate ganache icing. And you can add some bling to your cake (little black dress, that is) by adding a dash of edible silver or gold leaf- which you can find at specialty cake decorating stores.

I found this recipe in Delicious Indulge cookbook by Australian author Valli Little. I was immediately attracted to the title of her cake recipe (Little Black Dress Chocolate Cake) as well as the recipe of her delicious-looking cake. But of course, this recipe is not intended only for women, but for all those who love the taste of chocolate.

Chocolate Cake.S. I’d love it if you’d ‘like’ my G’day Souffle’ Facebook page- it would really make my day! 
  

'Little Black Dress' Chocolate Cake
Serves 10
A rich fudge-like cake and ganache icing turns this dessert into a sexy 'little black dress'!
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Chocolate Cake
  1. 3 cups (500 g) dark baking chocolate
  2. 9 Tbsp. (125 g) butter, chopped
  3. 6 eggs, separated
  4. 1/3 cup sugar
  5. ½ cup thickened cream
  6. 2 tbsp. dark rum or brandy (optional)
  7. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  8. Edible silver or gold leaf to serve (optional)
Chocolate Ganache
  1. 1 ½ cup (250 g) dark baking chocolate
  2. 6 Tbsp. (85 g) butter
  3. ½ cup thickened cream
  4. 2 Tbsp. liquid glucose (glucose syrup)
For the cake
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Butter the insides of an 8-inch (21 cm) springform cake pan and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Place the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water- stir until the mixture melts. Set aside and let cool slightly. Whisk the 6 egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture turns a pale yellow color. Add the thickened cream, rum and vanilla extract and cooled chocolate mixture.
  3. Whisk the 6 egg whites in a clean, dry bowl using electric beaters- continue until soft peaks form. In 3 separate batches, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, using a spatula or large spoon. Do not over-mix; try to keep as much air in the mixture as possible. Pour into the prepared springform pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the Chocolate Ganache
  1. Place the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water- stir until the mixture melts. In a separate pan, heat the cream and glucose until almost boiling; combine with the chocolate mixture and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove the cake from the pan; spread the ganache over the top and sides of the cake and garnish with the silver or gold leaf (optional).
Notes
  1. Edible silver or gold leaf decorations can be purchased at specialty cake decorating stores.
Adapted from 'Delicious Indulge' cookbook by Valli Little
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/