Friday, December 7, 2012

Tres Delicieux!

With the holidays upon us, we all need some stellar recipes that are fool-proof, delicious, and perfect for friends and family! One of my absolute favorites is "Coq au Riesling!" (My husband goes crazy for this!) This fantastic dish comes from the Alsace region of France and is similar to Coq au Vin, but made with Riesling rather than red wine. As I've talked about before, braising is an excellent technique for cooking chicken, see "Lacquered Chicken" and "Braised Paprika Chicken." Not only does the chicken remain incredibly moist, it makes the most addictive creamy sauce! Coq au Riesling is traditionally served with buttered egg noodles, but I like it just as it is with plenty of crusty bread to mop up the sauce. Add a salad and a bottle of Riesling, and you'll have a meal that is chic and sophisticated! 

Coq au Reisling

Serves 4


6 chicken legs, split at the joint (I usually make this with 8 chicken thighs instead, with great success!)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 shallots, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons Cognac (I like Camus VS.)
1 cup dry or off-dry Riesling (I like Chateau Ste. Michelle from Washington state.)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream (I actually prefer Mexican crema, specifically "Salvadorian" variety, if available, which I think is more flavorful than readily available American creme fraiche from Vermont, or the "Mexican" variety crema.) 
A squeeze of lemon juice (optional, but I like it!)
Chopped fresh parsley or tarragon, for garnish


*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper. Melt half the butter with the oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat, and brown the chicken on all sides, working in batches. As the chicken browns, remove it to a plate. Add the shallots and garlic to the pan, and saute for 1 minute. Pour over the Cognac to deglaze. Put the chicken back in. Pour over the wine and stock, and simmer* until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes, turning once. (To check if the chicken is done, cut a little slit underneath next to the bone. *No need if you finish it in the oven!)

*My preferred technique is to place the (oven-proof) pan in a pre-heated 350 degree oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes. This method is easier and creates a more crispy skin. The thighs are always fully cooked and the pan sauce perfectly reduced.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a frying pan over medium heat, and cook the mushrooms until golden. When the chicken is cooked, remove it to a serving platter, and cover with foil to keep warm. Boil the cooking liquid down to sauce consistency. Stir in the creme fraiche and the mushrooms. When hot, taste, and correct the seasonings, adding a squeeze of lemon if you think it needs it. Pour the sauce over the chicken, scatter over the parsley, and serve. Mmmmmm!

Recipe adapted from French Taste: Elegant Everyday Eating, by Laura Calder.

1 comment:

  1. I made this last night and it was sooooooo good! Practically licked the plate! Used recommended wine and Vermont creme fraiche from Trader Joe's. Can't wait to make it again.