Thursday, October 04, 2012

Coq au Riesling (You do, and you'll clean it up!)

Ok, I have a terrific recipe for you today that is cozy and comforting, but elegant enough to prepare for company. It's from a show on the Cooking Channel called French Food at Home, and it's a twist on Coq au Vin, which is traditionally made with red wine. But this is Coq au Riesling, made with the sweet white wine and creme fraiche which creates this luscious, tangy sauce with which to smother browned chicken and mushrooms. I served it on top of some of the carrot-squash penne that I had left over from making macaroni and cheese the other night, but I think it would be super-delicious with a wild rice pilaf or some such. It's so rich and flavorful, and this is such an EASY recipe, even for a weeknight! What's not to love?

Creamy Coq au Riesling
(Source: Laura Calder, The Cooking Channel)

6 chicken legs, split at the joint or a 3-pound whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I used 8 thighs)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil (or 2 tablespoons goose fat), plus more butter for frying
4 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Cognac
1 cup dry Riesling
1/2 cup chicken stock
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered (I used a whole pound)
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
chopped fresh parsley or tarragon, for garnish (definitely use tarragon, stirred right into the sauce)
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the fat in a saute pan and brown the chicken on all sides, working in batches. When all the chicken is browned, remove it to a plate and add the shallots and garlic to the pan for 1 minute. Pour in the Cognac to deglaze. Put the chicken back in the pan. Pour in the wine and stock, cover and cook until the chicken is tender, about 20 minutes, turning once.*

Meanwhile, melt a little butter in a frying pan and cook the mushrooms until golden. When the chicken is cooked, remove it to a serving platter and keep warm. Boil the cooking liquid down to sauce consistency. Stir in the creme fraiche, mushrooms, and tarragon. When hot, taste and correct the seasonings. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.
*Tip: When the chicken is very close to done, remove it from the pot, place it on a lined baking sheet, and pop it in the oven while you brown the mushrooms and make the sauce. This gives a chance for the chicken skin to crisp back up, because flabby chicken skin is not good eats!

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