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Coq Au Vin: Ripert or Cooks Illustrated?


StorageLady
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Supper Club is this Saturday night, and I am charged with preparing Coq Au Vin for 15. I have found sound tasty sounding recipes from Eric Ripert (Avec Eric) and from the Cooks Illustrated series. They both read delicious, but since I only get one shot at making the meal, I'm wondering if you have ever made the dish and which you think might be better.

BTW - I don't really have time for whole "takes 3 days, find a rooster" thing. So I am seeking a more streamlined approach that will still yield a tasty result.

If you have made the dish before and can offer any suggestions or advice, I'm listening.

The Cooks Illustrated recipe, if you subscribe online, is here: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/detail.asp?docid=5185

Eric Ripert's (which is accessible by anyone) is here: http://blog.aveceric.com/category/dinnersocial/cozy_winter_dinner_social/#recipe4

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Supper Club is this Saturday night, and I am charged with preparing Coq Au Vin for 15. I have found sound tasty sounding recipes from Eric Ripert (Avec Eric) and from the Cooks Illustrated series. They both read delicious, but since I only get one shot at making the meal, I'm wondering if you have ever made the dish and which you think might be better.

BTW - I don't really have time for whole "takes 3 days, find a rooster" thing. So I am seeking a more streamlined approach that will still yield a tasty result.

If you have made the dish before and can offer any suggestions or advice, I'm listening.

The Cooks Illustrated recipe, if you subscribe online, is here: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/detail.asp?docid=5185

Eric Ripert's (which is accessible by anyone) is here: http://blog.aveceric.com/category/dinnersocial/cozy_winter_dinner_social/#recipe4

Can't see the CI recipe, but Eric's looks good and is straightforward. Regardless of which you decide to use, select a decent wine and don't omit the bacon.

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Supper Club is this Saturday night, and I am charged with preparing Coq Au Vin for 15. I have found sound tasty sounding recipes from Eric Ripert (Avec Eric) and from the Cooks Illustrated series. They both read delicious, but since I only get one shot at making the meal, I'm wondering if you have ever made the dish and which you think might be better.

BTW - I don't really have time for whole "takes 3 days, find a rooster" thing. So I am seeking a more streamlined approach that will still yield a tasty result.

If you have made the dish before and can offer any suggestions or advice, I'm listening.

The Cooks Illustrated recipe, if you subscribe online, is here: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/detail.asp?docid=5185

Eric Ripert's (which is accessible by anyone) is here: http://blog.aveceric.com/category/dinnersocial/cozy_winter_dinner_social/#recipe4

I haven't made either though I've seen the Cook's one. I've been really happy with Alton Brown's recipe:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/coq-au-vin-recipe/index.html

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I haven't see the CI one, but the Ripert one looks pretty good. I find, however, that using even a full bottle of wine in a dish is too powerful in terms of the final outcome, so the two bottles there would give me pause. YMMV. I've made a James Beard recipe, which is pretty similar but doesn't specify that much wine. What I really like (which probably doesn't work for your supper club, but for future reference) is his recipe for Coq au Riesling over noodles. It's in his pasta cookbook.

(Beard's regular Coq au Vin calls for a French Burgundy or a California Pinot Noir, if that's of any help.)

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I've not made either: CI (they have two recipes, "modern" and their original from several years ago) or Eric Ripert. I do make coq au vin and have made a number of different versions over the years. I also passionately believe that homemade stock is absolutely essential to a great dish. Neither of these use homemade stock. If you have time on your hands and the money to buy marrow bones this IS the best coq au vin you will ever taste. It is deep, rich and incredibly flavorful. This serves 6. From the Frugal Gourmet's Jeff Smith it is worth every penny and every minute.

One note and I am sort of famous for comments like this: don't make this unless you make stock from scratch as written below by Jeff Smith. Yes, it cooks down for TWELVE HOURS. Twelve hours!!! If you really want the absolute best coq au vin you will ever taste in your life this is it.

From Jeff Smith, the Frugal Gourmet Cooks With Wine, 1984:

-2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced

-4 crushed garlic cloves

-l lb of white mushrooms, sliced

-2 fryer chickens, 3 to 4 lbs each or use 5 lbs breasts, thighs and legs.

-1/4 lb bacon, diced (about 5 strips)

-1/4 cup olive oil

-2 cups basic brown soup stock below

-1/2 cup parsley, minced

-2 cups dry red wine such as burgundy

-4 tablespoons brandy

-2 bay leave

-1 tsp whole thyme

Salt and pepper, freshly ground to taste to taste

Roux:

-6 tbsp flour cooked in 6 tbps butter.

Heat a large frying pan and add the olive oil, onions and garlic and saute until they are tender. Add the mushrooms and saute, on high heat, until the mushrooms are barely tender. Remove from the pan and deglaze the pan with a little of the red wine. Pour the pan drippings over the onions and mushrooms; set aside.

In the same pan saute the bacon until clear. Remove the bacon from the pan leaving the fat. Set the bacon aside. Cut the chicken into serving pieces reserving the backs and necks for a later soup stock. In small batches brown the chicken in the bacon fat. Place the chicken and bacon in a large kettle and add the stock, red wine, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, parsley and brandy. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender about one hour. Add the onions and mushrooms and continue to simmer while you prepare the roux. Lightly brown the flour in the melted butter and stir this mixture into the cooked chicken and sauce. Stir over the heat until the sauce thickens.

Basic Brown Soup Stock

This is one of those things you prepare on you one major cooking days each week. It takes some time to concoct, but this soup stoke is just basic to a properly and frugally run kitchen. It is used for soups, sauces, and gravies.

Bare rendering bones, sawed into 2-inch pieces

Carrots, unpeeled and chopped

Yellow onions, unpeeled and chopped

Celery, chopped

Tell your butcher that you need bare rendering bones. They should not have any meat on them at all, so they should be cheap. Have him saw them up into 2-inch pieces.

Roast the bones in an uncovered pan at 400 for 2 hours. Be careful with this, because your oven may be a little too hot. Watch the bones, which you want to be toasty, not black.

Place the roasted bones on a soup pot and add 1 quart water for each pound of bones. For 5 pounds, add 1 bunch carrots, 1 head celery, and 3 yellow onions, chopped with peel and all. (The peel will give lovely color to the stock.)

Bring to a simmer, uncover, and cook, for 12 hours. You may need to a water to soup up to the same level. Do not salt the stock.

Strain the stock, and store in the refrigerator. Allow the fat to stay on top of the stock when you refrigerate it; the fat will seal the stoke and allow you to keep it for several days.

Makes 5 quarts of stock

______________

Note: StorageLady, I just read your comments about a "streamlined approach" and a "tasty result." I apologize this is neither. But for anyone reading this who has time on their hands...

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Had I posted this last week, I would have had the time to make the beef stock. As it is, I'll have to be content with my homemade chicken stock. Thanks for the recipe !

I've made Ripert's version before, and it was quite tasty. I didn't find the 2 bottles of wine overwhelming, I guess it had to do with the length of braising time. He does call for very little bacon - I didn't think I could taste it al all in the finished version. I guess if I want to make his again I could just add more!

Oh, and KMM...haha! I HAVE been known to take major shortcuts before! This time though - I'm gonna suck it up and start braising.

I'm thinking I'll need to start the browning/braising etc. in 2 or 3 dutch ovens. Once it all gets going, I was planning on putting it into a giant stockpot so that it all cooks together .. That sound ok?

The CI version from the 90's does look pretty tasty. I'll post it here for those of you who don't have access to CI online:

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

4 chicken leg quarters (about 3 pounds), carefully trimmed of all fat, cleaned, dried, and thighs and drumsticks separated

1 bottle fruity, smooth, medium-bodied red wine (750ML), such as Oregon Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, or a light Rhone valley wine

2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium canned chicken broth

6 ounces bacon (preferably thick-cut), cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces

6 - 7 tablespoons unsalted butter , at room temperature

1 large carrot , roughly chopped

1 large onion , roughly chopped

2 medium shallots , peeled and quartered

2 medium cloves garlic , skin on and smashed

1 teaspoon dried thyme

10 parsley stems

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste

24 frozen pearl onions (evenly sized), thawed, or fresh pearl onions

1/2 pound white mushrooms (small), washed and halved if medium sized, quartered if large

2 - 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Generously sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and ground black pepper; set aside. Bring red wine and chicken stock to boil in large, heavy saucepan; reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until reduced to about 4 cups, about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, fry bacon in large Dutch oven or deep, heavy-bottomed sauté pan over medium heat until fat has rendered and bacon is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate to drain; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon butter with rendered bacon fat; add carrot, onion, shallots, and garlic and sauté until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Following illustration 1 below, press vegetables against side of pan with slotted spoon to squeeze out as much fat as possible; transfer vegetables to pan with reduced wine mixture (off heat) and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from Dutch oven or sauté pan.

3. Return Dutch oven or sauté pan to burner over medium-high heat and add another 1 tablespoon butter. When butter is melted, add chicken (in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding) and cook until well browned all over, turning once or twice during cooking, 12 to 16 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate; set aside. Pour off all fat from Dutch oven or sauté pan; return to heat and add wine-vegetable mixture. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan with wooden spoon (see illustration 2, below). Add browned chicken, bouquet garni (thyme, parsley, and bay leaf tied together), and tomato paste to boiling wine mixture; return to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently, partially covered. Turn chicken once during cooking, until tender and infused with wine flavor, 45 to 60 minutes.

4. While chicken and sauce are cooking, heat another 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add pearl onions and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if butter starts to brown too fast, until lightly browned and almost cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms, season with salt, cover, increase heat to medium, and cook until mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to high, and boil until liquid evaporates and onions and mushrooms are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer onions and mushrooms to plate with bacon; set aside.

5. When the chicken is cooked, transfer to serving bowl or platter; cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Following illustration 3, below, strain sauce through fine mesh sieve set over large measuring cup, pressing on solids with wooden spoon to release as much liquid as possible; sauce should measure 2 to 3 cups. Return sauce to pan; skim as much fat as possible off surface. Counting 1 tablespoon each of butter and flour for each cup of sauce, mash 2 to 3 tablespoons each butter and flour in small bowl or plate to make a beurre manié, as shown in illustration 4. Bring sauce to boil and whisk in beurre manié until smooth. Add reserved chicken, bacon, onions and mushrooms; adjust seasoning with salt and ground black pepper to taste, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer very gently to warm through and blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Check seasoning one more time and adjust with additional salt and ground black pepper if necessary; add parsley. Transfer chicken to serving platter; pour sauce over chicken. Serve immediately.

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Major short cut - I saw it the other day behind the counter of Balducci's in McLean for $8.99/lb. :)

I just did the math on this - and even if I bought a pound a person, the cost would be almost the same as what it is costing me to make it from scratch! For the 15 people, my cost (including the wine) is $120. That's not even including my labor, which, of course, is priceless.

If I bought the coq au vin, it would be $135. Geez....

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Get to work and stop procrastinating!

My wife and I made the Julia Child’s version about two years ago: julia. We had fun doing it together but in the end we thought it was not as good as the effort!

Depending on how much you like your friends - Burgundy goes really well with Coq Au Vin. Conservatively, you would probably need about 4 bottles for 15 and it could get pricey.

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I've made the CI version and everyone I served was very happy with the result. Of course, we were also betraying the peasant roots of the dish by using the best chicken and bacon I could get my hands on (not to mention a pretty decent bottle of wine as well). But whatever. FWIW I will happily sign off on the cook's recipe.

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I'd like to know how it turned out.

I went through a phase where I made it monthly for maybe 6 months in a row. My husband named them after French Kings for some reason. Anyway , what I discovered is that pan frying mushrooms and onions in butter and folding that into the braise is the KEY TO SUCCESS! as is bacon.

That said, I am very bad at following recipes. I always end up adding a little more of this, some extra of that...

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I'd like to know how it turned out.

I went through a phase where I made it monthly for maybe 6 months in a row. My husband named them after French Kings for some reason. Anyway , what I discovered is that pan frying mushrooms and onions in butter and folding that into the braise is the KEY TO SUCCESS! as is bacon.

That said, I am very bad at following recipes. I always end up adding a little more of this, some extra of that...

The CI Coq Au Vin was a HUGE HIT! It was pretty straightforward to prepare. The only thing that was time consuming was browning all of the chicken. I used a couple of pans to get everything browned, then dumped them both into a large stock pot for the final braising. Made it a day ahead and let it develop all of those fabulous flavors overnight. BTW, I used pinot noir and it was lush and fruity and rich.

Served over wide egg noodles, people were licking their forks...

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