Patti's Lighter (Kinda) Coq Au Vin

Patti's Coq Au Vin

4 strips thick-cut bacon
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup flour seasoned with salt, pepper and onion powder
1 lb diced cremini or baby bella mushrooms
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 bottle red wine, preferably pinot noir
1-2 cups chicken broth
1 Tbs tomato paste
20 or so pearl onions, peeled (optional)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 med onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
6-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 Tbs Cornstarch (optional - mix with water and add to stew to thicken, if needed)
Chopped fresh parsley

Dice bacon and cook over medium heat in a dutch oven until browned.  While cooking, shake chicken with seasoned flour in a bag, shaking off excess flour.  Remove bacon from pan.  Brown the chicken thighs, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove chicken to a plate.  When chicken is browned, toss mushrooms, garlic and diced onion in pan.  Add 1 Tbs butter if pan is too dry.  When mushrooms have given up their liquid, add carrots, pearl onions and celery and stir briefly.  Add wine to pot and stir thoroughly, scraping to deglaze pan.  Add tomato paste and stir to dissolve, then chicken stock.  Using tongs, add chicken and half of the bacon pieces back into pot, pushing to submerge in liquid.  Add thyme.  Simmer until chicken is fork tender and vegetables are cooked, 45-90 minutes.

Serve over hot mashed potatoes, egg noodles or polenta.   Sprinkle servings with parsley and a few bacon pieces, if desired

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