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what's a good side for coq au vin?

  • w

I'm making some coq au vin this weekend and wonder what I should serve as sides?

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  1. Potatoes roasted in goose fat? Fresh asparagus (if you live in CA, it's starting to be asparagus season) roasted in a pan for five minutes at 400 degrees with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper?

    1. Coq au vin has such a nice complex /rich flavour, simple sides sound good. Steamed: new/fingerling potatoes with butter /parsley
      any green spring vegetable, peas or favas with mint,
      Some light french style bread with good butter.

      1. If you're making it with pearl onions and mushrooms, it doesn't really need much except steamed potatoes (the sauce is already pretty rich, so much as I love potatoes cooked in goose or duck fat, I wouldn't use them here). But yes, a nice fresh spring green veg. would be delightful -- asparagus (again, I would just steam them) or peas. And really good bread, and a simple green salad afterwards.

        1 Reply
        1. re: CTer

          I'll second that. Incidentally, if you can't get a cock (which can be virtually impossible in certain areas) it's worth doing it with a boiling fowl -- something that's tough enough to stand up to a long slow simmer. That's the point of the recipe.

        2. n
          Nina Wugmeister

          I made coq au vin on Friday night (Bittman recipe, the one with prunes) - delicious. I served mashed potatoes and a big green salad with a traditional vinaigrette. The sauce from the coq au vin isn't too thick, so the mashed potatoes were the perfect soaker-upper.

          Appetizer was stuffed tomatoes provencale, desert was apple clafouti with vanilla ice cream.

          1. Wine. Lots of it.

            1. Rather than potatoes, I prefer to serve it on top of a nice bed of buttered and parsleyed broad egg noodles.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Karl S.

                Also, it really helps to make sure the plates/bowls are warmed, too....

              2. couscous. works well with the sauce. good texture and flavour. i find that the traditional buttered noodles don't soak up the sauce well nor do boiled or steamed potatoes. and mashed potatoes a bit too rich in texture and flavour.

                or just really good baguette. nothing more.

                1. Any major advice against using skinless chicken?

                  What about deboned chicken?

                  20 Replies
                  1. re: Wendy Lai

                    While I haven't done it, removing the skin shouldn't make a big difference. I think the leg pieces come out best due to the long slow simmer and make an easy serving portion. I've made it with just whole legs but I have white meat aversions anyway.

                    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      ditto on the white meat aversion. i've made coq au vin - not the jeanty recipe - with boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a pinch and it's turned out fine. though i prefer a whole, cut-up chicken for flavour and authenticity. if you do use the boneless/skinless i've found that a light dusting of flour, then browning helps in creating a crust and sealing in moisture - also thickens the sauce just a bit which you'll need without the bones/skin as a thickeners.

                      1. re: louisa

                        I always use flour when browning, and agree about using a whole chicken. On a lark I have I just pulled out my Larousse Gastronomique (and dropped it on my foot! oww) to check out the basics. It says: Coq au Vin: young chicken cut in 6 pieces, saute "on a lively heat" with butter AND cubes of fatty pork, so much for cholesterol LOL ! Add garlic, bouquet garni, morels or mushrooms, onions,Then flame with brandy! then cover with the wine and simmer. Remove the chicken and thicken sauce with the blood and liver, or just more butter!!!
                        :-) I have a $ 5.99 bottle of Rutherford Lodi Merlot , that I think wants to be Coq au vin.... Wendy..what wine are you using...any suggestions??

                        1. re: ciaolette

                          I second that,
                          true coq au vin is not something you prepare when you are on a diet, the traditional version is extremelly rich, and salt pork, as well as, chicken blood are both part of the traditional ingredients.

                          I agree with everyone who has said potatoes (mash or boiled) are a good accompaniment. On the other hand you may also consider rice, it works quite well soaking up the juices and its simple nature doesn't compete with the rich flavors.

                          As far as the wine, any burgundy worth drinking should work well.

                          1. re: Maria

                            here's one of my other favourite chicken in wine recipes from a great site - winecuisine.com - a wine matching website. i've included recipe adjustment notes below the recipe.

                            Poulardes au Riesling (Chicken in Wine)

                            2 chickens, 2-1/2 lb each
                            Salt and Pepper
                            3/4 cup butter
                            1 onion, quartered
                            1 clove garlic, chopped
                            2 cups Riesling
                            12 oz mushrooms, sliced
                            Juice of 1/2 lemon
                            2 cups heavy cream

                            Quarter chickens and season with salt and pepper. In a skillet brown the chicken pieces lightly in 1/4 cup of butter. Add onion and garlic and pour in wine. Sauté mushrooms in another skillet with 1/4 cup of butter and lemon juice. Drain mushrooms and reserve. Keep hot. Pour mixture of butter and lemon juice over pieces of chicken and simmer, covered, for 30 to 35 minutes. When chickens are cooked place them on a hot serving platter and spread the mushrooms over them. Keep warm. Boil the pan juices until reduced by half. Stir cream into pan juices and let cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in remaining butter. Taste for seasoning, then strain the sauce and spoon over chicken.

                            Wine: Riesling d'Alsace, Pinot Gris, Sylvaner, Mosel Spätelese, Pinot Noir d'Alsace

                            cut up chickens into 8 pieces each, in a very hot pan brown well - no butter - set aside. pour out fat from pan. cut up onion into bite-sized pieces, in same pan melt 1 tbs butter, caramelize onion, sweat garlic, add wine. in another pan melt 1 tbs butter, sautee mushrooms, add lemon juice. drain mushrooms if necessary, reserve juice. add chicken to onions/garlic/wine, add reserved juice. remove cooked chicken. reduce. add 1 cup cream. thicken. add 1 tsp butter. season. serve.

                            Link: http://www.winecuisine.com/Recipes/re...

                            1. re: louisa

                              3/4 cup butter? 2 cups heavy cream? Go for it, full speed ahead, and damn the calories! And a bottle of Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Spätlese to wash it down!

                              1. re: John Whiting

                                i should have mentioned that i did make the recipe as is the first time around. i'm not scared off by a little or a lot in this case of butter or cream. but i seriously think there were some typos there or that it was written as a fantasy piece. with that much fat the sauce just wouldn't reduce. a bit overwhelming actually. but i thought i should present the recipe in its original form and let you all decide for your own arteries.

                          2. re: ciaolette

                            with all due respect to larousse - a young chicken? i've haven't had the chance yet to make coq au vin with un coq but i can't imagine stewing - in wine nonetheless - with a young chicken.

                            1. re: louisa

                              I'm glad you brought this up again. Oddly, the original Larouse (in English translation) does indeed say "young chicken". Such violence has been done so often in translating French cookery classics into English that I wish I had the Prosper Montagné original. There is no question but that the recipe originated as a way of making edible a tough old cock that had passed its farmyard usefulness.

                              1. re: John Whiting

                                You are so right...in fact I would advise against using the ubiquitous "fryer" or "broiler" and go for the stewing chicken (roaster in a pinch). If you must use a fryer, cut the cooking time to the bone. Browning will almost do it. I have had fair luck with cooking a minimum, leaving the coq in the stove covered for several hours to soak in the sauce.

                                1. re: Jim H.

                                  Does anyone follow the practice of marinating the chicken pieces in red wine overnight, and then reusing the wine as a braising liquid after browning the dried off chicken? I have followed this method, but I think I'll try the previously posted idea of simply letting the chicken sit in the wine AFTER cooking to absorb the flavors overnight, and making fat removal easier.

                                  Has anyone ever tried to thicken their sauce with the livers as suggested? I guess blood is sort of hard to come by?

                                  1. re: Bill

                                    Marinating was the foundation of the original recipe, the wine serving the purpose of a tenderizing agent. But when you're cooking a bird which is already young and tender, you're liable to end up eating it with a spoon.

                                  2. re: Jim H.

                                    With modern chickens, this dish risks either overcooking the bird or undercooking the sauce leaving a raw winy flavor. My kid's french class had a pretty grisly and unpalatable result of the latter sort. I think I would brown the chicken (DEF leave the skin on) and remove it, saute the onions carrots and herbs in the pad until soft and golden, add the wine and deglaze, cook down for a while (maybe add some strong chicken stock until the sauce develops a good rich flavor and then and only then adding the brown chicken pieces to the gravy. Of course the chix can sit in the gravy for a while or better overnight before garnishing with mushrooms, etc and serving.

                                    1. re: Jim H.

                                      Amen to that,

                                      Use hens meant for soup.

                            2. re: Melanie Wong

                              I'm using Bistro Jeanty's recipe, posted on SF Chronicle from way back. My friend has tried it a few times and gave it rave reviews.

                              I think I will use just thighs and drumsticks instead of a whole chicken, and leave the skin on.

                              I'll report how it turns out.
                              Thanks for all the suggestions.

                              1. re: Wendy Lai
                                Nina Wugmeister

                                I just made a really good coq au vin on Friday. I left the skin on, used thighs and legs, browned the chicken first - very traditional. However, I did it the evening before, and refrigerated it - then I removed the fat off the top after it solidified, the way one does with a chicken soup, for example. So I got all the flavor of the fat, the chicken was moist, but the fat was removed after its primary usefulness was over - make sense?

                            3. re: Wendy Lai

                              If you want to cut down the fat and cholesterol I guess you could trim some or all of the skin, however I would not debone the chicken as a lot of the flavor slow cooks out of the bones.

                              1. re: ciaolette

                                Also, the collagen gives the sauce better mouthfeel. Personally, I would leave the skin on, and just suck the juices out of it later. Again, I think it adds some flavor, and not really all that much fat.

                                1. re: CTer

                                  Fat content is MUCH less if you remove skin and also trim any visable fatty bits.You're right, there is lots o flavor in the skin which you would lose, but health wise it's the bomb, in a bad way.
                                  BUT personally I think if youre going to all the trouble, using a good chicken and good wine to make Coq au vin, Go for it, and cut fat in other areas of your diet.

                              2. re: Wendy Lai

                                a. Skinless chicken: you really do need the skin on when you do the initial browning; it prevents the muscle tissue from hardening the wrong way. And the rendered fat is an important carrier of flavor. Just remove the sacs of fat from under the skin, etc. Coq au vin is not diet food, nor is it extravagant in terms of calories, either, if properly made. Remember, it was designed to use old, lean roosters who had done their service (as opposed to, shall we say, capons...).

                                b. Absolutely do not use boneless chicken. The bones provide flavor and texture and help keep the inner muscle tissues moist.

                              3. A potato galette, browned in a skillet on stovetop, then removed to the oven for final roasting.

                                1. For hearty stew-type dishes, I like to just use bread (usually crusty French baugette) for the starch, and have any veggies served on the side cold or raw in salad form on crisp greens.