Cuisses de Poulet au Vin Rouge

This braise of chicken thighs in red wine is nothing more, or less, than a simplified version of the classic Coq au Vin, hence the fancy French name. Unlike the traditional recipe which is best made with a tough old laying hen cooked for hours to make it tender, this version using boneless or bone-in thighs cooks rather quickly making it suitable for a weeknight dinner. However, unlike the original, I would be reluctant to make it in a slow-cooker for fear of reducing the more tender meat to mush. If you want to be really authentic, brown the chicken in bacon fat instead of oil and butter. Be sure not to skimp on the thyme—its flavor is the essence of the dish—but don’t be afraid to use dried if you do not have fresh. I would use about a teaspoon in place of the four sprigs. Serve with boiled potatoes.

Serves 2 generously

Ingredients

4 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless (or not)

Flour

Salt and pepper

Olive oil and/or butter

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 carrots, diced

250 g (8 oz.) white mushrooms, quartered or sliced depending on size

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh savory (optional)

½ 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

125 ml (½ cup) red wine

Flour and water slurry, as needed

Method

Season a quantity of flour (I use rice flour for a gluten free dish) with salt and pepper then dredge the chicken. Heat the oil and/or butter in a lidded braisier or Dutch oven over a medium high flame. Working in batches if need be, brown the chicken thoroughly on each side, adding a bit more oil as needed. Set aside.  

Reduce the heat to medium-low, adjust the fat in the pan to about a tablespoon, and sweat the onion and carrots until softened but not colored. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the mushrooms express their moisture.  Stir in the tomatoes and wine then add the herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Return the chicken to the pan submerging it into the sauce, adding a bit more wine if needed. Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is done. If the sauce is too thin, stir in some flour slurry (or beurre manié) and boil gently, stirring, until thickened. Remove the thyme twigs and adjust seasoning before serving.

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