This weekend, some friends and I took a trip to France thanks,
in large part (well, in all parts), to my kitchen!
After this summer’s film Julie and Julia, based on the book of the same name, Boeuf Bourguignon was the French dish on everyone’s mind.(Both the movie and book, I must say, were quite entertaining. Obviously, the book was better. Bet let’s move on…)I could have hopped on the bandwagon and made this classic dish. But no! Surely, there must be other classic French dishes out there. My choice?? Coq au Vin!
Essentially, Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon are the same thing. Their core ingredients – bacon, mushrooms, pearl onions, and red wine – are the same. Their core techniques – sautéing in bacon fat and braising in wine – are also the same. The main difference is the protein selection. Where Boeuf Bourguignon is made with beef, Coq au Vin is made with chicken. That was my selling point. 🙂
I decided in my attempt to make Coq au Vin
to use Tyler’s Ultimate Coq au Vin recipe.
I think Tyler Florence’s Coq au Vin was a version that stayed true to the classic recipe while still being simple enough for a first time French chef.
Also, Tyler Florence is hot and I dig him. ANYWHO!
Preparing Coq au Vin really was quite simple.
Start by rendering the fat from four strips of bacon.
(Those of you close to me know how I feel about bacon. Bacon and I, well, we don’t really like each other all that much. Unamerican? Perhaps. I find the flavor of bacon to be extremely overpowering. But I wanted to capture the true essence of this dish. So the bacon stayed.)
Once the fat is rendered, remove the crispy bacon and brown the chicken.
Remove the chicken and set aside, add the vegetables and sauté until soft.
Remove from heat, add 1/4c cognac, take a step back and FLAMBE!
(Look at it! Flames! How exciting is that?! This was my first time flambe-ing a dish! You should be impressed because I still have my eyebrows. 🙂 )
Once the flames subside, add the chicken back to the pot,
2c chicken broth, and a whooooooole bottle of red wine.
Add some bay leaves and fresh thyme and let simmer, covered, for one hour.
I served mine with my homemade roasted garlic mashed potatoes.
I must admit, bacon and all, this traditional french dish
was ces’t magnifique!
For dessert I selected a Tyler’s Ultimate recipe as well, but this was to no avail. I thought to conclude a scrumptious french dinner a french dessert was only appropriate. A deep dish apple tarte tatin sounded good to me.
My poor, poor caramel.
Well… not exactly caramel.
Not caramel…at all.
My poor, poor crystalized mass of sugar. 🙁
What’s a girl to do when her dinner guests are expecting a french feast and her caramel won’t set?
Here is my on-the-spot recipe for my own version of the classic french apple tarte tatin.
Individual Apple Tartlets
Meanwhile, cut six rounds from the puff pastry dough, using ramekins as a guide.
Remove pan from heat, add rum.
Return to heat and cook 3 minutes more.
Divide apple mixture between six ramekins.
Top each ramekin with puff pastry round.
Brush with egg, and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 400° for twenty minuets or until pastry is puffed and brown
Allow to set for ten minutes before serving.
To serve, loosen tart with knife and invert ramekin onto plate.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.