¼ pound thick-sliced bacon                         ¼ cup brandy
¼ cup butter                                                   ½ tablespoon tomato paste
3 chicken breasts, halved                            3 cups dry red wine
6 chicken legs                                               1 to 2 cups chicken or beef broth
1 teaspoon sugar+                                       1 bay leaf
24 tiny white onions                                      1 tablespoon fresh parsley
24 medium mushrooms                               2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced                                3 tablespoons flour

Cut the bacon into half-inch pieces and cook in butter in a large Dutch oven or casserole until lightly browned. Remove bacon and drain. Pour half of the accumulated fat into a second large pan or skillet so you can use two pans for browning the chicken. Rinse chicken pieces, skin and dry.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the fat and cook it over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides. As pieces brown, remove them to a plate and add more pieces to the frying skillet/casserole. When all are browned, set chicken aside.

(From now on use just the heavy casserole.)


* At this point decide whether you want to cook the mushrooms and onions along with the chicken in the casserole OR to cook each vegetable separately. If you choose the latter method, skip the next paragraph, put the chicken back in the pot and proceed with the directions for the flaming step, then skip down to the asterisk below and follow Julia Child's directions for brown-braising onions and sautéing mushrooms.


If you choose to cook the onions and mushrooms in the same casserole with the chicken and bacon, proceed with these directions. Put the onions into the fat remaining from browning the chicken, add sugar and cook stirring until onions are lightly browned. Then brown mushrooms and garlic.
Put the chicken back in the pot; let warm over low heat a minute before proceeding to flame the casserole. Also, warm the brandy slightly to ensure success with the flaming step.
Pour most of the brandy over the ingredients in the casserole.
Retain about one tablespoonful of brandy and put it into a ladle. Light the brandy in the ladle and pour it, flaming, into the casserole to ignite the rest.
When you do this, avert your face and stand back, as the whole casserole will flame up instantly.   
When the flame dies, add the wine and just enough broth to cover the chicken pieces. Stir in tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Bring to the simmer and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Remove chicken and bacon, as well as the mushrooms and onions, if they are already in the casserole at this point, to a side dish.

 *Julia suggests a different method for cooking the mushrooms and onions. You may , after browning the chicken, return the bacon to the casserole with the chicken. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes to warm all. Sprinkle with one teaspoon of sugar; then, flame with brandy as directed above.
Add wine, broth and seasonings and simmer for thirty minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, brown-braise the onions--

Melt 1 1/2 Tablespoon butter with 1 1/2 Tablespoon oil in skillet. Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, Rolling the onions about so they will brown evenly. Add 1/2 cup brown stock or red wine, salt and pepper to taste and seasoning

[a medium herb bouquet: 
            (4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, and 1/4 teaspoons thyme tied in cheesecloth)
                a tablespoon of Bouquet Garni].

Cover and simmer slowly for 30 to 40 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape.

Sauté the mushrooms--

Place a 10-inch enameled skillet over high heat with 2 Tablespoon butter and 1 Tablespoon oil. As soon as the butter's foam has begun to subside, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 to 5 minutes. The mushrooms will at first absorb the fat; in 2 to 3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface, and the mushrooms will begin to brown. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from the heat.

At this point, however onions and mushrooms have been prepared, the chicken, bacon, onions and mushrooms will be on the side, not in the cooking liquid.

Regardless of how the onions and mushrooms were cooked, finish off the recipe as follows--

Simmer the chicken cooking liquid in the casserole for a minute or two, skimming off fat. Then raise heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2 1/2 cups. Correct seasoning. Remove from heat.
Blend the butter and flour together into a smooth paste. Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whip. Bring to the simmer; stirring, and simmer for a minute or two.
Arrange the chicken in the casserole, place the mushrooms and onions around it, and baste with the sauce.   Sprinkle with fresh parsley

Serve from the casserole, or arrange on a hot platter..

Serves 5.

(to see Anson's full preparation, click here on Anson's coq au vin)


You can find this and related recipe(s) by tapping here on the Home Cookin' index.


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