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Gigi's Coq au Vin à la Beaujolaise



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Gigi's Coq au Vin à la Beaujolaise

A 3-pound young roasting chicken
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces cubed slab bacon
12 pearl onions
12 button mushrooms
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig thyme
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs parsley
4 tablespoons Cognac, warmed
Half bottle Beaujolais
1 lump sugar
1 tablespoon butter and
1 tablespoon flour (for beurre manié)
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Cut chicken into serving pieces. Heat butter and olive oil in heatproof casserole with bacon. When bacon begins to turn golden, add onions and cook a minute or two and then add mushrooms. Sauté mixture gently until onions begin to be transparent and mushrooms brown. Remove from casserole and keep warm.
Roll chicken pieces in seasoned flour and sauté in same fat about 5 minutes or until golden brown on one side. Turn over, without piercing, to brown
on other side. As each of the pieces begins to "stiffen", remove it and place
it in a covered dish in a warm oven. After chicken is browned, return
onion, salt pork and mushrooms, chicken pieces and juice to casserole.
Add salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and parsley. Cover casserole
and cook at 350 degrees F. until almost tender. Remove chicken and
vegetables from casserole and keep warm.
Skim off excess fat from juices in casserole and set it over a high flame,
pour in Cognac warmed in soup ladle. Let it burn for a minute or two
(stand back!), and then extinguish by pouring in Beaujolais. Add lump
of sugar, bring to a boil over high heat, reduce sauce by half. Thicken
with a beurre manié made by mixing together the remaining butter
(softened) and flour. Strain sauce into a clean casserole, return chicken,
salt pork, and vegetables to casserole. Cover and let simmer in very low
oven until ready to serve. Garnish with parsley. 4 servings

Variation:  I like to use Burgundy rather than Beaujolais, and time permitting, marinate the chicken overnight in:
1 750-ml bottle Burgundy
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 onions, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns, smashed

The next day, transfer the chicken to a large strainer and allow it to drain. Pat it dry with paper towels, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and proceed as above.

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