It’s Opening Day…first pitch at Fenway versus the hated Red Sox in a just a few minutes. In continuing with how we left last season in triumphant bliss…possibly due in part to an old superstition…we’ll play along once again. Like the baseball season itself…long and complicated…here is a long, complicated chicken recipe from Keith McNally…also celebrating an opening here in the E. Village with Pulino’s…Go Yanks!
Coq au Vin from The Balthazar Cookbook
4 large stewing hen legs
1 lg yellow onion, cut into ½ in. dice
1 carrot cut into ½ in. dice
2 celery stalks cut into medium dice
1 head of garlic halved horizontally
1 bottle red wine
1 bouquet garni
salt and pepper to taste
¼ C. olive oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp flour
3 C. veal stock
1 pint pearl onions
½ lb. slab bacon, diced
1 lb small domestic mushroom3 tbsp chopped parsley
In a large bowl, combine the legs, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, wine and bouquet garni. Cover with plastic and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.
Strain the legs and vegetables from the marinade, reserving the liquid, and separating the legs and vegetables. Season the legs with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. When it begins to smoke, add the legs in batches and, being sure not to crowd the pan. Brown evenly on all sides, about 8 minutes per side. Set the finished legs to the side and discard the oil; replenishing between batches.
When the legs are finished, reduce the heat to medium and add the reserved vegetables to the pot. Cook until they soften and begin to brown, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the flour, stirring again for about 2 minutes. Add the reserved wine marinade and, as it bubbles up, use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot. Reduce the liquid by half, 20-25 minutes, and then add the stock. As it reaches a boil, reduce the flame and maintain a slow and gentle simmer for 1 hour. Meat should be falling from the bone.
Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Blanch the pearl onions in boiling water for 5-7 minutes, until tender. Strain and set aside. Cook the bacon in a dry sauté pan over a medium flame, about 10 minutes, and remove with a slotted spoon. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until brown about 5 minutes and remove. Add the blanched pearl onions to the pan, sautéing until they too are brown, about 5 minutes.
Remove the legs from the braising liquid and strain the contents of the pot, reserving the liquid and discard the vegetables. Bring to a strong simmer and skim the surface of the sauce as it bubbles and remove any visible fat. When the sauce has reduced by half, return the legs to the pot along with the bacon, the pearl onions and mushrooms and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Just prior to serving, ad the chopped parsley