Cookbook Challenge: Week 31 – French

Here is my confession: I am not a huge french food fan. Chocolate mousse? Love it. Creme Brulee? Love it. French fries? Love them! But those rich, red wine based dishes? Not so much. So after an extensive search through my cookbooks – and ditching things like french onion soup because I’ve made it before, I settled on making Coq Au Vin. I know. From the girl who hates red wine dishes!

The last time I ate french food was at a restaurant in Southbank about 5 years ago and I had their Coq Au Vin and absolutely hated it. But I was unsure of what to make and so, I decided to bite the bullet and just make the dish and see if my tastes had matured at all.

And you know what… they have. I really liked this dish! The entire time I was making it I was resigned to the fact that dinner was going to be a dud and I would have to fill up on cookies. But as we were eating, the boy wasnt saying much and I was worried he hated it. But he loved it and went back for more. It wasn’t as rich as I remembered the last dish being and the red wine was balanced nicely with the tomato paste and bay leaf.

I am not sure I would rush to make this again – but I am glad I gave it a shot.

Coq au vin with olive oil mash

 Ingredients (serves 4)

2 tbs plain flour
8 (about 1.5kg) chicken drumsticks
2 tbs olive oil
4 KR Castlemaine rindless middle bacon rashers, cut into 4cm pieces
8 eschalots (French shallots), peeled
2 garlic cloves, crushed
375ml (1 1/2 cups) red wine (such as pinot noir)
375ml (1 1/2 cups) chicken stock
6 sprigs fresh thyme
3 dried bay leaves
400g button mushrooms
2 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs brandy
Fresh thyme, extra, to serve

Olive oil mash
1.5kg sebago (brushed) potatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped
125ml (1/2 cup) extra virgin olive oil 


Place the flour in a plastic bag. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and shake until lightly coated.

Heat half the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken and cook, turning, for 5 minutes or until brown. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and chicken.

Add the bacon, eschalots and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until eschalots are golden. Add the wine, stock, thyme and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Add the chicken and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 40 minutes or until tender.

Transfer chicken to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add mushrooms and tomato paste to the wine mixture. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper. Return chicken to the pan with the brandy and stir to combine.

Meanwhile, to make the mash, cook potato in a saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return to the pan and use a potato masher or fork to mash until smooth. Add oil and combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Place coq au vin in a serving dish and top with extra thyme. Serve with mash.

Good Taste – August 2006


3 responses to “Cookbook Challenge: Week 31 – French

  1. Phew, glad that your effort didn’t go to waste! 🙂 Are you going to come to our potluck lunch?

  2. That looks really nice, Coq au Vin is one of my favourite dishes and I nearly made it myself for the challenge! I have a slow cooker recipe which is no effort which I usually use (given that I am a very lazy cook) 🙂

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