Tag Archives: French

Coq Au Vin ~ Rare Recipe Challenge

24 Jan
Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine)

I recently joined in with a group of fun foodie blogger to participate in a recipe challenge. Lina over at Lin’s Recipes “challenged” us to choose from a list of exotic recipes from around the world we had never made before so that we could all expand our food horizon’s beyond our own country. I read through the list then sheepishly asked if I could use a post from a couple of years ago, because hey, at that time it WAS new to me! She graciously agreed. Thank you Lina!
Rare Recipe Challenge

Head on over to the Rare Recipe Challenge to see what others have made!  The cooks have a week to add their entry, so check back often to see new recipes added throughout the week.

Thank you Lina for creating this fun challenge for the month of January (new year, new recipes!), and a great big thanks to Jhuls for judging the entries. She can be found over at thenotsocreativecook.wordpress.com .

So without further adieu, I bring to you my story of cooking the French dish Coq au Vin!

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After feeding our foreign exchange student a healthy (or unhealthy you might say) dose of American food, I decided to surprise her one night with a traditional French dish. She walked into the kitchen and I motioned her over to the crock pot. I lifted the lid and said, “Tah Da! I made you Coq au Vin!” She had a very puzzled look on her face. I said it again nice and slow, like this: “COKE UHH VEEEEEN.” Blank look. “You know, chicken in wine!”

“Ohhhh, yes, yes. It’s Coh ah Vah,” she replied. There is barely a hint of the k and n sound, but I could not seem to quite get that part right and we had a few giggles at my poor attempts. So after I thoroughly corrupted the French pronunciation, I was hoping I didn’t do the same to the meal. For one, I couldn’t find a true Burgundy wine at the store, so settled on a Pinot Noir. I also knew my daughter wouldn’t eat the mushrooms in it, so added some baby carrots. I did, however, ask Caroline what the French typically served the dish over — potatoes or noodles? She said potatoes, so then I asked her if they were boiled or mashed? Another puzzled look from her then had me pantomiming round circles for boiled and banging my fist on the table to simulate mashing. Ahh, the second one, mashed potatoes!

Browning the Chicken

Browning the Chicken

After her bowl was filled twice and mopped dry with thick slices of French bread, I can say that the meal was a success! This dish is typically made with skin-on chicken thighs and legs, but all I had were large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. So I lopped them in half, and hoped they wouldn’t come out too dry. I think using a slow cooker helped retain some of the juiciness but I think next time I would cook them only about 3 hours on high instead of 4 hours. But I was very satisfied with the results, and now I know how to properly pronounce this lovely meal even if I can’t actually say it right.

Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine)

4 slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken, skin on or skinless
1/4 cup flour, divided
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
8 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed
8 ounces small button mushrooms
2 cups whole baby carrots
1 1/2 cups red wine
1/2 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Fresh parsley, chopped
Mashed potatoes and French bread, for serving

Vegetable Medley

Vegetable Medley

Cook the bacon in a large skillet, remove from heat, and drain bacon on paper towels. Leave about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease in the skillet, or if you used lean bacon then add some vegetable oil to make up for it. Season the chicken with pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste. Dust the chicken pieces with 1/8 cup flour, reserving the rest, and add the chicken to the skillet over medium high heat. Brown the chicken for several minutes on each side. Remove and set aside on a plate.

Chicken Vegetables and Bacon

Chicken, Vegetables, and Bacon

Add the tablespoon of oil to the skillet over medium heat, stir in the rest of the flour, then add in the pearl onions and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, add the baby carrots, then return skillet to heat. Deglaze the pan with the wine and chicken broth, scraping up all the yummy brown bits.

Wine Mixture

Wine Mixture

Whisk in the tomato paste, garlic, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves. Cook and stir for about 5 more minutes and turn off heat. Place the chicken over the vegetables in the crock pot, add the bacon on top, then pour the wine mixture over all. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, or low 6 to 8 hours.

Coq au Vin Ready to Cook

Coq au Vin Ready to Cook

Make your mashed potatoes in the last half hour or so of cooking and keep over low heat until ready to serve. Spoon mashed potatoes into bowls, top with the chicken and vegetables plus juices, and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Have lots of thick-sliced French bread for sopping up all the savory juices. Enjoy!

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine)

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Classic French Onion Soup

2 Jan
Classic French Onion Soup

Classic French Onion Soup

I put onions on the shopping list, and good ol’ hubby came home with a 5-pound bag of them! I typically buy two or three at a time, sometimes a couple of sweet and a yellow, sometimes a red. But 5-pounds of yellow onions?! So of course, I had to make some French Onion Soup.

I have made this soup before, but the results were less than satisfying. So I printed out my handy-dandy PDF copy, then went to work at scratching out items and modifying amounts and ingredients. I was extremely pleased with this version of the Classic French Onion Soup. WAY better than the last one. I hope you think so too!

Classic French Onion Soup

1 1/2 pounds medium yellow onions
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup dry sherry (the good stuff, not cooking sherry!)
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
4 cups homemade beef stock, or low sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste, if needed
Thick slices French bread
Butter for bread
Grated Gruyere cheese, enough for topping

Sliced Onions

Sliced Onions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, slice the onions thin. This is a piece of cake if you have a mandoline slicer, and I adore mine! Next, add the butter to a soup pot or Dutch oven that has an oven-proof lid and melt it over medium heat.

Buttered Onions

Buttered Onions

Add the onions to the melted butter, stirring around to coat. Cover and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.

Uncover and give the onions a good stir, then recover and add the pot to the oven, leaving a crack in the lid. After 30 minutes, uncover the pot and give the onions another good stir.

Onions Halfway Cooked

Onions Halfway Cooked

Leaving uncovered, cook for another 45 minutes, stirring them every 10 or 15 minutes, until they are caramel brown.

Caramelized Onions

Caramelized Onions

Once the onions are brown and caramelized, take the pot out of the oven and place on the stove over medium heat. Add the sherry and deglaze the pot, including scraping all the brown bits from the edges. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until the sherry reduces about half. Add the thyme sprig, bay leaf, and beef or chicken broth. If you don’t have homemade beef stock, I have read the soup will come out much better using a good quality store-bought chicken broth rather than beef.

Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, then finish it off with the cider vinegar. Take a sip, and season to taste with salt and/or pepper. I found it only needed just a pinch of salt, but I always use a lot of pepper.

About 10 minutes before you are ready to eat, slice enough French bread to top the amount of individual ramekins you will be cooking. Butter the tops of the slices, then place them in the oven or toaster oven on broil for a few minutes, until browned and crispy.

Soup Ready for Broiling

Soup Ready for Broiling

Ladle soup into the ramekins, top with a slice of crispy bread, then top with a good amount of grated Gruyere cheese. Broil for several minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove carefully from oven, and serve immediately.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup ~ Please forgive my horribly focused shot!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

Kale, Lentil, and Bacon Soup

25 Jan
Kale Lentil and Bacon Soup

Kale Lentil and Bacon Soup

Did I ever mention I love soup? Oh, yes, probably a hundred times by now. I am an avid reader of the Food52 website, and when I saw this soup offered up to test for one of their recipe contests, I immediately signed up to be a tester. Kale, lentils, and bacon? What’s not to love?

Paired with my super-yummy golden homemade chicken broth and a nice big splash of dry sherry makes this such an easy, but VERY tasty and filling soup. Don’t forget some thick slices of crusty bread to sop up every last bit of tastiness in your bowl.

I slightly adapted this by baking the bacon, and then using some of the clear, rendered bacon grease in lieu of olive oil for added flavor. And make sure you use the Puy (French Green) lentils, as they hold up well in a soup and don’t get mushy at all. I found these in the bulk section at Whole Foods Market.

Kale, Lentil, and Bacon Soup
Adapted from Anna May’s Recipe for Kale, Lentil and Bacon Soup @ Food52.com website

4 slices bacon
1 tablespoon rendered bacon grease
3/4 cup chopped
onion
1 large splash dry sherry
4 to 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 bunch Lacinato
kale, woody stems removed and chopped
1
sprig of thyme, leaves picked
3/4 cup Puy (French Green) lentils

Baked Bacon

Baked Bacon

Bake the bacon on a rack in a 400-degree preheated oven for 25 or so minutes until done. (I cooked the entire package and saved the rest for breakfast the next day.) Add 1 tablespoon of the rendered bacon grease to a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.

Rendered Bacon Grease

Rendered Bacon Grease

Saute the onions for several minutes until translucent. Break up the bacon and add it and the lentils to the pot, then pour in a nice glug of the dry sherry.

Cooking the Lentils and Onions

Cooking the Lentils and Onions

Let it sizzle briefly then pour in the chicken or vegetable broth. Bring up to a boil, then turn down and simmer until the lentils are done, about 40 minutes.

Wilting the Kale

Wilting the Kale

Stir in the kale and thyme leaves and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes until the kale is wilted and tender. Serve in bowls with crusty bread.

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

French Challenge #3 ~ Salads

25 Sep

OK my foodie friends, I’ve dredged up my French Challenge #3 post because way back I ended up in a tie and then life got busy and then, well, you know. So while we are still in limbo from closing on a house, I have a perfectly good (but small) kitchen to cook in now. I’m reviving this post and starting the count all over. Help me out! Which one of these recipes should I make for the the French salad??? Please comment on this repost instead of the original and then I can start a new count. Many thanks!

anotherfoodieblogger

French Classics Cookbook French Classics Cookbook

This is not only a post about my French Challenge going on, but to also say it’s been a challenging week at home with some personal family issues, hence no cooking blog this week. No new recipes or much cooking going on in this household besides microwaving and such, but we are slowly getting back on track. I hope to get you some new recipes after we get over this bump in the road of life.

Now, I present to you three dishes from the third chapter of my French cookbook. I had challenged myself to make at least one dish from each chapter, and this chapter is Vegetables and Sides. I found all the vegetable recipes to be quite simple, and one of them only had two ingredients so I wasn’t much challenged by that! So I picked three of the salads that at least expanded…

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Cassoulet ~ French Challenge #2

30 Apr
Serving the Cassoulet

Serving the Cassoulet

It’s been well over a month since I posted this challenge to myself, and I finally bucked up to to make this somewhat complex dish. What I didn’t plan on when I first posted this was how many weekends I’d have in between that didn’t allow for this amount of cooking time (not to mention being out of town), but also that I couldn’t find a pork belly or lamb shoulder to save my life in this small town!

After numerous “cassoulet” searches online, I decided I could use pork loin and smoked sausages without spoiling too much of the classic way of cooking this dish. Which means long and slow. Long and slow, get it? Like about a four-hour chunk of my day long and slow. But oh my gosh, the flavors are amazing!

Actually, it takes two days to make this meal, as you have to start some of the prep the night before cooking. I found no part of preparing this dish particularly “hard” to make, it was just time-consuming.

Soaking Beans and Drying out Bread Night Before

First Things First ~ Soak the Beans and Dry Out the Bread Night Before Cooking

Another factor was that I live in high altitude, and the instructions to “cook the beans for about 20 minutes until tender” about floored me. No-way, no-how would dry beans (even soaked overnight) would be remotely tender after 20 minutes in this high-desert climate. But like all good cooks, I read the instructions in advance and was proactive in knowing my cooking environment. I added at least an hour to my cooking time overall, and I bumped up both the liquid amounts and cooking temps.

Also, I found the amount of meat called for a bit extravagant (seeing as there are only three of us), so scaled the meat amount down. My husband even thought I could reduce the pork amount down even more next time.

Family verdict? All thumbs up! I was amazed at the depth of flavor in this dish. But heck, it’s got not only bacon, but pork and sausage. NO SALT REQUIRED, K? The three large sprigs of thyme and bay leaves added just the right amount of herb flavor without being overwhelming. I did grind some black pepper over it all even though it didn’t call for it because, well, I love pepper in almost everything! Now on to the recipe:

French-Style Cassoulet

1 and 1/2 cups dried white beans (I used Great Northern), soaked overnight
3 slices of grain bread, torn and set to dry
4 strips streaked bacon (not lean), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 pound pork loin, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 horseshoe link of beef Italian smoked sausage, sliced
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 smallish leek, sliced thin and soaked in water to rinse
2 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and sliced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 jar homemade tomatoes, or 1 14-ounce can, hand-crushed with liquid
2 to 2 1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup Fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons melted butter

The night before making this dish, place dried beans in a bowl and cover with about an inch of cold water. Soak overnight. In addition, tear up the bread into pieces and place on a rack or in colander so that air can circulate around the bread to make it stale.

The next day, about 3 or 4 hours before serving, drain the beans and add about two inches of water over top of the beans. Bring to a boil and then simmer on medium for about 45 minutes (or less in lower altitudes).

Prepping the Ingredients

Prepping the Ingredients

Meanwhile you can begin prepping the other ingredients. Place the stale bread in a food processor and process until coarse crumbs develop and you have 2 cups of breadcrumbs. If you have any leftover, you can reserve for another use or feed to the birds, like I did. Chop the parsley and combine with the breadcrumbs and set aside.

Next, slice the leek thin and place in a bowl of water to remove any sand/silt. Drain and set aside. Chop the onion and set aside. Then cut the pork loin into one-inch chunks, the sausage into slices, and the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.

When the beans are almost tender, you can remove from heat then drain. They will continue cooking later in the oven.

Obligatory Bacon Frying Photo

Obligatory Bacon Frying Photo

Now you can start cooking the actual dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for lower altitude). In a Dutch oven or other oven-proof dish (I used my 3-quart cast-iron deep skillet), cook the bacon on medium high until crispy, about 10 minutes then drain on paper towels. Remove all but about 1 or 2 tablespoons of bacon grease.

Browning the Pork

Browning the Pork ~ I left too much grease for first batch, so removed some for next batch

Next cook the pork in the same dish in batches, until browned on all sides. I eyeballed it and left too much in there for the first batch of pork (above) so adjust accordingly. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Browning the Sausage

Browning the Sausage

Cook the sausage in the same dish until browned, remove and drain on paper towels.

Cooking the Leeks, Onion, and Garlic

Cooking the Leeks, Onion, and Garlic

Next cook the onion, leek and garlic in the same dish, stirring often, until onions and leeks have softened and reduced by about half. Return all the meat and the beans to the pot and combine.

Meat and Beans Added

Meat and Beans Added

Now add the thyme, undrained crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, and chicken broth (only 2 cups if at lower altitude).

Broth and Tomatoes Added

Broth and Tomatoes Added

Season with ground black pepper, to taste. Bring up to a boil, cover, and turn off heat.

Out of Oven First Time

Out of Oven First Time

Cook covered in preheated oven for 1 hour (or 45 minutes at lower altitude). Remove from oven, uncover, and sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Drizzle the melted butter over top. Place back in oven and cook uncovered for 45 minutes.

Parsley and Breadcrumbs Added

Parsley and Breadcrumbs Added

Remove from oven and let sit 15 minutes before serving. Serve with thick slices of crusty bread and a big glass of wine, because you’re going to need it after all that cooking! Bon Apetit!

p.s. (We are headed to our river property over the weekend, so I’ll post again in about a week!)

Don’t forget the handy-dandy printable PDF below!

Cassoulet Out of Oven

Cassoulet Out of Oven ~ Finally!

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

 

Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine)

22 Feb
Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine)

After feeding our foreign exchange student a healthy (or unhealthy you might say) dose of American food, I decided to surprise her one night with a traditional French dish. She walked into the kitchen and I motioned her over to the crock pot. I lifted the lid and said, “Tah Da! I made you Coq au Vin!” She had a very puzzled look on her face. I said it again nice and slow, like this: “COKE UHH VEEEEEN.” Blank look. “You know, chicken in wine!”

“Ohhhh, yes, yes. It’s Coh ah Vah,” she replied. There is barely a hint of the k and n sound, but I could not seem to quite get that part right and we had a few giggles at my poor attempts. So after I thoroughly corrupted the French pronunciation, I was hoping I didn’t do the same to the meal. For one, I couldn’t find a true Burgundy wine at the store, so settled on a Pinot Noir. I also knew my daughter wouldn’t eat the mushrooms in it, so added some baby carrots. I did, however, ask Caroline what the French typically served the dish over — potatoes or noodles? She said potatoes, so then I asked her if they were boiled or mashed? Another puzzled look from her then had me pantomiming round circles for boiled and banging my fist on the table to simulate mashing. Ahh, the second one, mashed potatoes!

Browning the Chicken

Browning the Chicken

After her bowl was filled twice and mopped dry with thick slices of French bread, I can say that the meal was a success! This dish is typically made with skin-on chicken thighs and legs, but all I had were large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts. So I lopped them in half, and hoped they wouldn’t come out too dry. I think using a slow cooker helped retain some of the juiciness but I think next time I would cook them only about 3 hours on high instead of 4 hours. But I was very satisfied with the results, and now I know how to properly pronounce this lovely meal even if I can’t actually say it right.

Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

Mushrooms and Pearl Onions

Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine)

4 slices of bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken, skin on or skinless
1/4 cup flour, divided
Ground black pepper, to taste
Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
8 ounces frozen pearl onions, thawed
8 ounces small button mushrooms
2 cups whole baby carrots
1 1/2 cups red wine
1/2 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
Fresh parsley, chopped
Mashed potatoes and French bread, for serving

Vegetable Medley

Vegetable Medley

Cook the bacon in a large skillet, remove from heat, and drain bacon on paper towels. Leave about 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease in the skillet, or if you used lean bacon then add some vegetable oil to make up for it. Season the chicken with pepper and Mrs. Dash or salt, to taste. Dust the chicken pieces with 1/8 cup flour, reserving the rest, and add the chicken to the skillet over medium high heat. Brown the chicken for several minutes on each side. Remove and set aside on a plate.

Chicken Vegetables and Bacon

Chicken, Vegetables, and Bacon

Add the tablespoon of oil to the skillet over medium heat, stir in the rest of the flour, then add in the pearl onions and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, add the baby carrots, then return skillet to heat. Deglaze the pan with the wine and chicken broth, scraping up all the yummy brown bits.

Wine Mixture

Wine Mixture

Whisk in the tomato paste, garlic, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves. Cook and stir for about 5 more minutes and turn off heat. Place the chicken over the vegetables in the crock pot, add the bacon on top, then pour the wine mixture over all. Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours, or low 6 to 8 hours.

Coq au Vin Ready to Cook

Coq au Vin Ready to Cook

Make your mashed potatoes in the last half hour or so of cooking and keep over low heat until ready to serve. Spoon mashed potatoes into bowls, top with the chicken and vegetables plus juices, and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Have lots of thick-sliced French bread for sopping up all the savory juices. Enjoy!

Oh and I almost forgot. The wonderful organization that brought Caroline and my family together are now looking for more hosting families for this spring. Please, if you have any doubt about how wonderful an experience hosting is, go to the Andeo website and learn how you can sign up to host a student. You will not regret the experience! Here is a link to their website: www.andeo.org.

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine)

Download and Print this Recipe

Download and Print this Yummy Recipe!

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