A Valentine’s Dinner to Crow About
Psst! Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Want to wow your Valentine? Do not, we repeat, do not make a restaurant reservation.
We have nothing against restaurants, but have you ever been to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day? Crowded, noisy dining rooms are no place for a romantic, intimate dinner. Wait staff is worked to the bone. Kitchen staff is slammed with orders. Managers are under pressure to accommodate tons of patrons. Can you linger over dinner and dessert in a quiet corner with your Valentine? We think not.
But wait. Here’s a perfectly wonderful alternative that will be something to crow about. (You’ll get the intended pun as you read on.) First, it goes without saying that you’ve set a candle lit table with your best dinnerware. Don’t forget the cloth napkins please. Low lights and romantic music quietly set the mood. A few choice flowers grace the table. Perhaps a fire in the fireplace? Why not move the table close to the fireplace? On the menu is the lovely French classic: coq au vin. If you prepare it the day before it will taste even better and you can spend more time with your Valentine.
Coq au vin translates to rooster in wine. Ok, so roosters aren’t plentiful, but chickens are. Now get your mouth set for chicken marinated in good red wine. Earthy mushrooms, sweet pearl onions, sweet carrots, bacon bits (who can resist anything made with bacon?) and a few other tasty morsels are then comingled with the chicken and simmered in wine until the meat falls off the bones. It’s a rich, rustic casserole that is typical French comfort food. Perfect fare for an intimate dinner in February.
Uncork a charming wine from Burgundy – a pinot noir is an outstanding match. It doesn’t have to come from France. Oregon’s Willamette Valley produces some world class pinot noirs that won’t break the bank. Just ask your wine shop steward for suggestions.
And for dessert? Ooh la la! We’ve got you covered. Check out our next blog post.
Coq au Vin
Read through the recipe to decide on what you would like to serve with the casserole. It’s traditionally served with wide egg noodles, but parsley potatoes are a great match as well.
This screams for a warm, crusty French bread and of course a good red wine. Serve a bottle of the same wine you used in the casserole.
3-4 pounds bone in chicken parts, skin on
1 cup roughly chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups red wine
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
1. Seal chicken, onion, garlic and wine in a heavy duty zip-lock food storage bag. Place on a tray or dish to catch possible leaks and refrigerate for 6 hours and up to 12 hours. Turn the bag over once in a while to distribute marinade.
2. Remove from refrigerator and strain marinade into a medium size bowl and reserve.
3. Pat chicken dry.
4. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from skillet and reserve.
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup cognac
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-inch pieces
6 ounces pearl onions, peeled
1 teaspoon sugar
6 ounces thick sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned
Salt and pepper
1. Heat three tablespoons of the butter over medium high heat in a large dutch oven. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent.
2. Stir in flour with a spatula and continue to stir until combined with the butter and there are no lumps. You are making a roux and it takes only half a minute or less to come together.
3. Pour in wine, cognac, chicken stock, crushed tomatoes and throw in bay leaves. Gently stir with a whisk and bring to boil.
4. Add chicken, cover and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes.
5. Add carrots and parsley. Reserve one tablespoon of parsley for garnish.
6. Melt 1 tablespoon of remaining butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Toss in onions, sprinkle with sugar and gently swirl pan to coat onions. Cook until onions are caramelized and golden brown. Add to the chicken pot.
7. In medium size skillet, melt one half tablespoon of remaining butter over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until tender crisp. Drain and discard the fat. Throw bacon into the chicken pot. (If you put the bacon into a dry pan it will burn.)
8. In the same skillet, melt remaining butter over high heat drop mushrooms in and cook until golden. Add to chicken pot.
9. Cook chicken uncovered over medium high heat for about 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked and the meats falls off the bones.
10. Transfer stew to serving casserole or arrange chicken on a large serving platter and spoon sauce and vegetables over chicken. Sprinkle with reserved tablespoon parsley.
My mouth is watering terribly….I made a quick version before…nothing compared with yours..This is a 5-star quality!
Þetta var æðislegur réttur
takk elskan 🙂
Mouthwatering! Loving the sound of this Coq au Vin. I would probably serve with parsley potato.
Agree! Parsley potatoes are my choice as well.
Thanks for stopping by.