Saturday, December 1, 2012

Plat Principal-Main Course

The symbol under the poulet (chicken ) is AOC. It is a system developed in France to protect certain wines and food. It is a coveted status in meats based on their unique flavor due to local soil, grain and dedication of local farmers to protecting quality of their animals.
Bresse is a breed of chicken originally from the Bresse area of the Rhone-Alps region. Poulet de bresse are chickens with the highest AOC ratings and are quite expensive at fine food markets. It was emphasized several times that when dining look for this poulet symbol and the rating AOC. We saw them many places.

Once inside a restaurant you would typically find these plat principal (main course ) food choices:
cuisse de canard-honey glazed roasted duck leg with orange sauce
poison halibut pochee-poached halibut
lamb cassoulet
carre d' agneau-roast rack of lamb
fillet de boeuf sauce bearnaise-fillet of beef with sauce
bouillabaisse-fish soup
coquilles St.Jacques a la provencale-scallops in a provencal
coq au vin-chicken in wine

Coq Au Vin
Cook's notes: Several sources were used for this recipe: Ina Garten, Bon Appetit magazine December 2012 and Julia Child
Coq au Vin is a classic French dish of chicken cooked in red wine sauce. A Julia Child cooking tip is to blanch the bacon slices first. What that does is remove some of the saltiness from the bacon before you cook it. 
To blanch bacon: Drop the bacon into cold water covered by a couple of inches. Bring to boil, simmer 5 minutes, drain and rinse in cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut bacon into 1 inch pieces.
This recipe can be made 3 days ahead. Chill uncovered till cold then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm uncovered
  • 2 TB. vegetable oil divided
  • 1/2 lb. blanched bacon slices
  • 16 pearl onions peeled or 1 large yellow onion sliced
  • 3 lbs. chicken thighs and legs
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups chicken stock NOT chicken broth
  • 2 cups red wine either pinot noir or bugundy
  • 2 bay leaves
  • several fresh thyme sprigs
  • several fresh parsley sprigs
  • fresh rosemary
  • 3 celery stalks minced 
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups roughly chopped button mushrooms
  • 1/2 lb. carrots that have been cut on the diagonal
  • 1-1/2 TB. flour
  • Preheat oven to 350 and use an oven proof pot for this recipe
  • Blanch bacon and set aside
  • In 1 TB. oil cook chicken in batches till browned about 5-6 minutes per side-set aside
  • Add blanched bacon to pot, then add carrots, celery, onions and cook about 7-8 minutes more
  • Stir in 1 cup of wine and tomato paste and simmer 2-3 minutes 
  • Add remaining wine and boil till reduced by half about 15 minutes
  • Return chicken to pot add chicken stock, tied sprigs, bay leaves and braise in oven about 1-1/4 hours
  • While chicken is cooking in oven saute mushrooms and garlic in 1 TB. oil over medium high
  • Remove chicken from oven and remove bay leaves and tied sprigs
  • Add mushrooms and garlic and  flour that has been mixed with 1/3 cup water to sauce 
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Simmer over medium heat about 20 minutes 

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