coq au vin

Two weeks ago me and my best mates got together, which is quite rare, but always results in fun times. It was up to me to cook something, as I invited them to my house.  First of all, I wanted a little challenge for myself, which might as well have been a disaster. I like French cooking, so I decided to go for coq au vin. Fairly easy, but I hoped this would be a little different to what they usually eat.

I was browsing the interwebz to find a good recipe, but that was a bit confusing. Hardly any of the recipes were the same, some said I should marinate the coq (or chicken). Others stated I should poach the chicken in red wine stuff. And then the other confusing thing...what to put in there a part from wine?

Oh my, what to put in there?

All of the mentioned ingredients? What would be the best combination? I chose to take some of the ingredients from one recipe while following the recipe from the other and hope for the best!

It resulted in these ingredients >>>>

I marinated the chicken in more than half a bottle of red (Cotes du Rhone) with mashed garlic, bay leaf, tarragon, vinegar, shallots, honey and fresh thyme and left it in the fridge overnight. 

And the next day I slightly baked the (now purple!) chicken in a pan, I started boiling the red wine sauce and added the leek and carrots to that. I sauteed the mushroom and bacon in another pan. Near the end, I put the chicken back in the pan with the red wine, and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

[Meanwhile I roasted potatoes in the oven with fresh rosemary, and prepped a lollo rosso/iceberg salad with grilled peppers, tomato and a dill & red wine vinegar dressing]

Ha, these pictures might as well have been taken with a camera phone. But sadly enough, they're not. My photography skills are a little over mediocre, but I can do better than the above, really. This has something to do with hanging over a red wine infused pan all day long. And the guests kept moving (eating)... I'll keep trying to improve myself. 

What I love about cooking is that you can create your own recipe from a classic. There's always a discussion around classics such as salad Nicoise (is potato part of the most original traditional recipe...or is it not?). Anyway, I think it's always good to improve upon an existing recipe, unless it's a winning recipe, then you shouldn't change it. 

But you know, it's all about the end product, and in the case of coq au vin, there just are several ways to get to that end. Really depends on the cook to come up with a winning combination of ingredients and preparation method. 

For me, these ingredients combined really nicely, and I really liked marinating the chicken the day before, gives it a really sweet red winy-flavour. If you would poach the chicken in red wine, you'll probably end up with a pan full of chicken bits, as it tends to fall apart (or at least that's what happened to me the last time I cooked chicken in stock). But I should work on cooking chicken, it was a bit pinky near the bone (aahhhhhhrghhh, hate that).

If I ever share a recipe again, I'll try to keep notice of the measurements of the ingredients (and cooking time). Because I kind of just cowboyed my way through this dish. 

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