Coq au Vin

 

coqauvin5_lefermier_020715

Coq au Vin is considered one of the all-time classic French recipes. Presumably, the original recipe called for Rooster, as the translation of the dish’s name is “Rooster in wine” but today it’s very much considered a chicken dish. This one-pot wonder is a delightful concoction of browned chicken, red wine sauce with salty pork lardons and mushrooms.

The best thing about this dish is that it tastes even better the day after you’ve cooked it because all the ingredients steep together overnight, making it a perfect dish to prepare in advance for guests or a busy week ahead.

More traditional recipes call for Burgundy wine, but I chose to make this recipe with Shiraz as I feel it gives the sauce more depth of flavour. There are some regions in France that use white wine for Coq au Vin, so really, you can feel free to experiment with your favourite grape variety.

Ingredients:

  • 1 free range chicken, around 2 kg and cut into 12 pieces
  • 2 litre red wine (I used shiraz but burgundy or Bordeaux are also popular choices)
  • 1 Bouquet garni (Make a fresh one from thyme, parsley and bay leaves – no pre-made teabags!)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stick, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves
  • Peppercorns
  • 1 small glass cognac or brandy

coqauvin4_lefermier_020715

Method:

  1. Put the chicken pieces into a deep cooking pot. I like to use my Le Creuset Round French Oven for slow cooking.
  2. Add the celery, bouquet garni, brown onion, carrots, garlic, cloves, peppercorns, cognac and red wine. Leave to marinate for 5-6 hours or overnight in a cool spot in the kitchen.

For the Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 25g unsalted butter or duck fat
  • 40g plain flour
  • 4 slice pork belly rashers, diced or cut into Lardons
  • 350g button mushroom, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 brown onion, diced

coqauvin3_lefermier_020715

Method:

  1. Take the chicken out of the marinade, discard the vegetables and pour the remaining wine into a jug.
  2. Place the cooking pot on high heat and add the olive oil and butter (or duck fat). Place the chicken into the pot and seal on all side until golden brown. Remove from the pot and keep aside.
  3. Add the onion and lardons to the pot and cook until slightly brown.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the onion and lardons and slowly add the wine while whisking. Whisk well to make sure everything is mixed through.
  5. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 ½ -2 hours on a low heat with the lid on but slightly open to let the steam out.
  6. Heat up a non-stick frying pan without anything in it. Add the mushroom and cook until they stop releasing water. Add them the pot ½ hour before the end of cooking.

coqauvin2_lefermier_020715

Side:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch purple Baby Dutch carrots, peeled
  • 1 bunch Baby Dutch carrots, peeled
  • 1 bunch white Baby Dutch carrots, peeled
  • 12 Kipflers potatoes, cleaned, peeled and cut in half

coqauvin_lefermier_020715

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Place the vegetables on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Herb de Provence and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook for 45 minutes or until tender.

I suggest you serve the coq au Vin with a fresh crusty baguette and a glass of EVOI Cabernet Sauvignon available from Airoldi Fine Wines.

Watch the how to video below or visit my Youtube channel  here for more.

 

Haricot Couennes

Haricot Couennes

haricotcouenne3_lefermier_250615

On my recent trip to France I had the pleasure of joining my Mum in her kitchen to prepare a family feast. For the main course we made Confit de Canard (Confit Duck Legs) and on the side, a dish I had completely forgotten about these past few years, but was overjoyed to be reacquainted with. Haricot Couennes is a slow cooked lingot bean dish (the same beans as used for a Cassoulet) with roughly chopped chunks of pork rind (known as Couennes), onion and herbs. The fatty pork rind injects oodles of flavour and the stewing process creates a rich sauce, just begging to be mopped up with crusty rustic bread. A traditional dish of the Dordogne region, it was the perfect garnish for our duck, but it would work equally well with a good steak, chicken breast or pork fillet.

Serve with a good red wine such as Hermitage or a Cote Rotie. Available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au (côte rôtie only).

Haricotcouenne1_lefermier_250615

Ingredients:

  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bunch thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 10cl white wine
  • 250g lard (pork rind)
  • 1kg haricot beans (unless you can find lingot beans)

haricotcouenne2_lefermier_250615

Method:

  1. Soak the beans in cold water the night before.
  2. Cook the haricot beans in salted water for about 1hour. You still want the beans to be a little firm. Once cooked, drain half the cooking liquid and keep the other half in the pot with the beans.
  3. At the same time, but in a separate pot, cook the lard in salted water but for ¾ of an hour, as this will soften the lard. Drain all the liquid and place the lard to the side.
  4. Heat up a large casserole pot (a Le Creuset or similar is ideal, if you have one) on medium heat with some olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook for a few minutes. Then add the tomato paste and cook a few more minutes, to get rid of the bitterness of the paste.
  5. Dice the cooked lard and add it to the casserole, give everything a good stir and deglaze with the wine.
  6. Add the beans and the cooking liquid. Cook for about 15 minutes, season with salt and pepper.

 

 

 

Tourin Blanchit a l’Ail: Traditional French Garlic Soup

Tourin Blanchit a l’Ail: Traditional French Garlic Soup

Garlicsoup2_lefermier_240615

There is an old French tradition whereby garlic soup is given to newlyweds in the wee hours after their wedding night, possibly because it’s thought to be an aphrodisiac, but more likely to aid digestion after a night of feasting and merriment!

I don’t know if this is still observed today but I love the idea of a food being a remedy for too much other food, and garlic does feel as if it has a restorative quality to it. In fact, a Frenchwoman who immigrated to Australia in the early 1960’s told me the only place she could find garlic here back then was in the pharmacy! Times may have changed, but the French still love their garlic soup.

Serve as a starter for any meal or freeze and save a serve for when you’re feeling under the weather to pep you up.

Ingredients:

  • 300g Peeled Garlic
  • 100g Unsalted Butter
  • 60g Plain Flour
  • 350ml Thickened Cream
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • Salt and Pepper

Garlicsoup1_lefermier_240615

Method:

  1. Blitz the garlic in the food processor until it forms a paste or chop it as finely as possible with a knife if you don’t have a food processor.
  2. Heat up a medium size cooking pot on medium heat with the butter. Add the garlic and cook it for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the base of the pot.
  3. Sprinkle the flour on the garlic, just enough so that it forms a loose paste. You may not need all the flour. The more you add, the thicker the soup will be.
  4. Fill up the pot to ¾ with water and bring the soup to the boil while whisking. Turn the heat down to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the cream, salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Add the egg white while whisking as this way you’ll have little bits of egg through your garlic soup and it also helps to blend everything together.
  7. Serve hot with some thin slices of toasted baguette.

 

Pot-au-Feu Traditionnel

Pot-au-Feu Traditionnel:

pot-au-feu2_lefermier_120615

Pot-au-Feu is a prime example that the most basic ingredients, cooked simply but to perfection, can make for the most hearty and satisfying meals. The unromantic could describe it as boiled meats and veg in broth, but the French have had a long affair with the Pot-au-Feu and you’d be hard pressed to find a family table, rich or poor, in France which it hadn’t graced at some point.

It’s one of those nostalgic meals that take me back to my childhood, and in this way, Pot-au-Feu seems like comfort food for the body and for the soul.

Ingredients:

  • 350g beef cheeks
  • 300g beef chucks (neck)
  • 300g ox tail
  • 1 brown onion (halved and chargrilled)
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 leek
  • 2 turnips
  • 4 Dutch cream potatoes
  • 4 cloves
  • 10 peppercorn
  • 20g rock salt
  • 2 Bouquet Garnis (thyme, bayleaves, parsley)

pot-au-feu3_lefermier_120615

Method:

  1. Put the meats in a large cooking pot and cover with water. Place the pot on the stove and bring it to the boil. Once it starts boiling, gently scoop out the foam on the top of the liquid and keep doing so for about five minutes.
  2. Add the Bouquets Garnis, garlic, onions, peppercorn, cloves and rock salt. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 1½ hours on low heat.
  3. Meanwhile start prepping the rest of your vegetables. Peel the carrots, turnips and potatoes and cut into big chunks (keep the potatoes in water so they don’t oxidize). Chop off the green part of the leek and cut the white part in half.
  4. Then add the vegetables to the pot (except the potatoes) and cook for 1 more hour. Add the potatoes and finish off the cooking for 30 minutes.

pot-au-feu1_lefermier_120615

Serving suggestion: Place the meat in the center of a large serving tray and arrange the vegetables around it and serve with a side of Dijon mustard, Cornichons, Fleur de Sel (sea salt flakes) and chargrilled bread!

 

In true peasant food style, waste not, want not! Don’t throw out the beautiful broth that’s left in the pot. Once you’ve removed your veggies and meat from the pot, add some vermicelli egg noodles (or any other soup pasta that you fancy) to the liquid and cook until al dente. Serve this is broth as an entrée before the main event.

To watch the how to video on YouTube click here

Dijon mustard, Emmental and Tomato Tart

tomatotart2_lefermier_040315

Tarts, both sweet and savoury are a staple in French cooking with their crispy pastry and multitude of filling combinations. Generally, when you think of savoury tarts, you imagine delicate concoctions of quiche with some vegetables mixed through. For those who want an alternative that packs a little more punch or who aren’t a fan of the flavour of egg-based tarts, I present you with the following option. The ingredients here are super simple and require little more than to be layered atop one another and baked. There’s no beating or stirring in sight as the core ingredient that binds everything together here is cheese, delicious, melty cheese. Perfect as a gourmet upgrade to the humble pizza and just as great with your favourite beer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sheets puff pastry
  • 150g Emmental or Comté cheese
  • 4 medium tomato
  • 3 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
  • Provençal herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

tomatotart3_lefermier_040315

 

tomatotart1_lefermier_040315

Method:

  1. Slice the cheese and the tomatoes and keep aside.
  2. Lay one sheet of pastry flat on your bench and brush it with an egg yolk mixed with one teaspoon of cold water. Lay the second sheet on top and gently press together. This will give your tart a crunchier finish. Lay the pastry over a tart baking dish and gently arrange it in the dish. Using a sharp knife trim any excess pastry.
  3. Spread the Dijon mustard at the bottom then place the cheese on top of it.
  4. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top in circular pattern. Sprinkle with the Provençale herbs, drizzle with olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius (392F) and serve hot.
  5. I recommend a glass of Chateau “La Manufacture” Petit Chablis to compliment this dish, available from airoldifinewines.com.au or if you prefer beer a delicious Pale Ale or even an IPA!