Thursday, November 19, 2009

Easiest, best-tasting Coq au Vin ever!

This is by far, the easiest Coq au Vin!  I always have a stash of boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the freezer since I load up when going to Costco.  I'm not a huge fan of white meat, but give me a thigh or a drumstick any day, and I'll be happy.

So, as I was cooking this meal, Ryan asked me what we were having and I proudly said in my terrible french accent, "Coq au Vin!".  Obviously, he proceeded to say "What?", so I was able to give him a quick french lesson, but it made me wanting more.  I looked up the history and meaning of coq au vin and found what I was looking for.  Check out this fascinating food timeline!  Translated literally, it means cock with wine.  Farmers would keep the cocks around as long as they were good breeders, which made them very old when their time was up. Cock was considered peasant food, due to the meat being extremely tough, so they had to cook it for long hours in wine or broth, just to make it edible.

Another interesting fact is that some food connoisseurs prefer to use white wine to braise with, instead of red.  The thought being that the white wine compliments the chicken without overpowering it.  I may just have to try that next!

A quick interlude about this recipe and then back to some coq au vin history.  I'm not sure how I came about this handy tip, but I wanted to share it.

This recipe calls for 1 TBL of tomato paste, like plenty of other recipes I've done in the past.  Who wants to open a new can of tomato paste for just 1 TBL?  Instead of throwing the rest of the can away, you scoop out the rest in individual tablespoons, place on a small square of wax paper, wrap up and store in the freezer.  Every time I pull one of these tomato packets out of the freezer, I feel so great for not being wasteful!

The most exciting discovery on my quest for coq au vin history was the a la carte website.  The drawings are exquisite and the passionate nature of the author is incredible. He flat out calls himself obsessive and at the current moment, is obsessed with French cookery.  After all this talk about coq, I will leave you to enjoy a few jokes around coq au vin's sexual connotation, courtesy of a la carte.


  1. Another tip, although more expensive, is buying the tomato paste in a toothe paste can use as much as you like and they came in different falvors, like roasted tomatoes! It stores in the refrigerator for a long time.

  2. Definitely an easier way! I've never tried the tomato paste in a tube, but have seen it before. Thanks!

  3. This inspired me along with a beautiful little bag of pearl onions of all varieties that I picked up from Trader Joes. I decided to dive in and try Julie Childs recipie just for the pearl onions she serves with it. Full fat and all, didn't make any substitutions and it was fantastic! A bit of work but not horrible. Next time, I will try the Cooking Light time saver - especially on a weekday. Thanks for the Coq Au Vin history and inspiration for a wonderful family weekend dinner.

  4. This looks delicious. I love slow cooked dishes.

  5. Me too. I'm thinking of trying one with white wine next. Hopefully at some point in January. Have you ever done one with white wine?