Sunday, 30 September 2012

Coq au Vin

I love the long summers that you get in Southern France, but I also like the winters, especially the start of autumn because for me it's the start of slow cooking, braising, casseroles. The smell of a casserole slow cooking as you walk in from the cold it brings back memories of my childhood. Coming home from school wet and miserable only to walk into our kitchen and be hit by a wall of tantalising smells that filled me with joy, and couldn't wait for dad to get home so we could all tuck into this wonderful food with a chunk of home made bread, followed by rice pudding..

Well, today is one of those days, it's raining and theres a chill in the air which I'm sure wasn't there yesterday even the leaves have taken on an autumnal colour today.
So I have decided to cook Coq au Vin.

Coq au Vin is a very old french dish invented (allegedly) by Julius Caesar.
And original recipes say you should marinate the chicken overnight which is fine if you remember or know what you are cooking the following day,which I don't always being a true Gemini I change my mind a lot!
Here is my recipe that I have adapted over the years. I used chicken pieces because I had plein air (free range) chicken legs that I had bought from the market the previous day.
But most recipe books say to use a whole chicken jointed into 12 pieces, the choice is yours depending how many you are cooking for.

Serves 4

4 chicken legs
300 ml of red wine
Glug of olive oil
2 tbsp flour
100g cured bacon cut into cubes
2 carrots cut into chunks
10 shallots small
100g button mushrooms
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
150 ml chicken stock
Bouquet garni
Ground sea salt and black pepper

Place your chicken pieces in a dish and cover with the red wine pop into fridge.
Heat the oven 180 *C/gas4
Put olive oil into an oven proof casserole dish and fry on a medium heat for 5 minutes
Add the shallots and carrots fry gently for 5 minutes.
Add the chopped garlic and whole mushrooms cook for another 2 minutes stirring regularly.
Take off  from heat and with a slotted spoon put all cooked ingredients onto another plate and put to one side.
Put casserole dish back onto hob and add your chicken pieces in batches and brown, then remove from casserole dish put to one side.
Add the flour to casserole dish reducing heat slightly stir in all the crispy bits and juices until the fat has been completly absorbed .
Then add your wine that had been marinating the chicken and chicken stock stirring slowly.
Bring to the boil  add your chicken pieces, mushrooms, shallots, carrots, bacon, bouquet garni.
Cover and return casserole to the oven for 45 mins.

I served mine with mashed potatoes to soak up the delicious gravy, but a nice chunk of french bread is equally as good.
The wine we had with the meal was Chateau Tour d' Arfon a Bergerac Red.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Three weeks today!

Well, we have been here in St Aubin three weeks today, and it has taken me this time to readjust.
We had our first day of rain yesterday and today its wall to wall sunshine like it has been everyday since we arrived.
It is absolutely beautiful here and I am slowly falling back under its spell, France is such a fascinating country.
I know I  am supposed to be writing about my passion for food, and I will get back into blogging about it, but I just wanted to write a small piece today and to add some pictures.
My oldest dog Belle who has lived in France with us before is right back in the groove! Sidney who has only been past the Tamar Bridge into Devon twice, is one seriously chilled out dog(long may it continue).
We know we have a lot of paper work and red tape but at the moment we are savouring the peace and tranquillity that the Lot is offering us.