What can I say, I’m a Frenchie at heart. I often call Camille my little Frenchie. The truth is, I’ve never even been to France. I have a phobia of flying over the ocean. It’s part illogical, part bad experience coming home from Costa Rica once. I actually even dream about accidentally getting on a plane that is re-routed over the ocean. I can handle a little ocean, like when you take off the runway at LAX and fly towards the ocean for a bit before turning north, but that’s about it.
However, my love of French food has to prevail some day. We set a goal to go to Paris for my 35th birthday, but now that 31 is fast approaching, suddenly, I’m digging in my heels. I actually told my husband yesterday ‘who needs France when you have California?’ He called my bluff entirely.
Until they make pills big enough for me to conquer my fear, you can find me in my kitchen cooking up French food. I check out French cookbooks from the library and pour over them. My favorite is Patricia Wells, well-known for her expertise. I made her recipe for Coq au Vin Blanc the first time I ever met my then-boyfriend, now-husband’s Dad. It was packed with mushrooms and artichokes, and he told me those were two of his favorite vegetables. Is it any wonder he’s now my father-in-law?
While I love to make Coq au Vin for entertaining a crowd (especially because it gets better if you make it the day before you serve it), I needed it to serve just two for date night.
So, this version of Coq au Vin, since it’s for two is way easier and quicker to make than the original. I think it’s every bit as good as the original. And even little Camille likes the flavors in her breastmilk. (Sorry).
I made this recipe as part of my year-long partnership with Omaha Steaks, except this time, I used their chicken breasts! They’re famous for more than just their steaks. I also used their Cabernet Sauvignon to make the recipe. Who knew Omaha Steaks had such great chicken and wine? Now you do!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced into lardons (1" rectangles)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1â? pieces
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 3 small bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2â? chunks
- 8 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup red wine (Cabernet or Burgundy)
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
Mashed Potatoes for Two:
- 2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons butter
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- In a 4-quart enamel-coated cast iron sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the bacon, onion, carrots, mushrooms, bay leaves and thyme.
- Cook, stirring occasionally until very fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Next, add the chicken pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes until seared on the outside.
- Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth, and wine.
- Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the bay leaves, taste for seasoning, and serve over mashed potatoes.
- To make the potatoes, cook the potatoes in plenty of salted boiling water until tender.
- Drain the potatoes, and return them to the pot.
- Add the milk, cream, and 2 T of the butter. T
- aste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
- Divide the potatoes between two serving plates, and top with the remaining two T of butter (1 tablespoon on each plate).
- Ladle the Coq Au Vin on top, and serve immediately with the rest of the wine.