Le Coq
Le Coq
Pullen, Grace
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La Belle Cuisine - More Poultry Recipes

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Chicken Braised in Beer



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 Le Coq
Le Coq
Martin, Patricia
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Chicken Braised in Beer
(Coq à la Bière)

French Farmhouse Cookbook
French Farmhouse Cookbook

by Susan Herrmann Loomis, 1996, Workman Publishing Co., Inc.

“This recipe comes from Pascale Bouche, who raises poultry in the tiny village of Aix-les-Orchies, just a few kilometers from the Belgian border. Pascale grew up cooking with a Belgian accent. Instead of wine, she uses beer in savories and sweets, and instead of white sugar she often uses cassonade, a rich brown sugar processed in the north.
Pascale love to cook, and chicken is often – understandably – on the menu. She likes to experiment with new ways of cooking it, but this recipe is a delicious variation on an old classic, a Belgian coq au vin. The beer reduces to a yeasty sweetness, enhancing the already delicious farm chicken. The garnish, too, is exceptionally flavorful. All the parts take a while to assemble, but the results are well worth the effort.
As the chicken actually improves overnight, you may want to cook it a day ahead, then prepare the garnishes just before serving. This also gives you a chance to skim any fat from the surface of the dish.
Traditionally, the bacon and onion garnish, which is as classic as the French countryside, is prepared and stirred in at the last minute. This was it offsets the flavor of the dish rather than blending in with it, creating a counterpoint and allowing the bacon to remain crisp, adding textural interest.
Serve dark beer, just slightly cooler than room temperature, along with this
à la bière.”

2 tablespoons olive oil, more as needed
1 large chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds; 1 3/4 to 2 kg), cut into 8 pieces
(2 breast pieces, 2 wings with portion of breast attached, 2 legs, 2 thighs), excess fat removed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, cut in half, then in very thin crosswise slices
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
4 cups (1 l) dark beer
1 bouquet garni (5 parsley stems, 3 imported bay leaves, 2 green leek leaves, 12 sprigs fresh thyme, tied in cheesecloth)

For the garnishes:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
 pearl onions, peeled
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock
10 ounces (300 g) slab bacon, rind removed
12 ounces (375 ) button mushrooms, brushed clean and cut into quarters
1/2 cup (loosely packed) curly parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the chicken pieces, season them with salt and pepper, and cook on one side until the skin turns an even golden brown, about 5 minutes. (Do not crowd the pan; brown the chicken in several batches if necessary.) Carefully regulate the heat to avoid scorching the skin. Then turn the pieces, season again with salt and pepper, and brown on that side, 5 minutes.
2. Remove the chicken pieces from the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and add the sliced onions (adding more oil if needed to keep them from sticking). Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.
3. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook, stirring, until the flour has absorbed much of the cooking juices and has a chance to cook, at least 2 minutes. Then return the chicken to the skillet, add the beer and the bouquet garni, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook, partially covered, at a lively simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 50 minutes. Remove the chicken from the sauce and return the sauce to a boil. Reduce it by half, until it has thickened to the consistency of thin gravy, 5 to 8 minutes. Return the chicken to the sauce, and remove the skillet from the heat; set it aside. (The chicken can be prepared up to this point a day ahead. Refrigerate it, covered. The following day, skim off any fat that has congealed on the surface, if desired. Reheat, covered, over medium-low heat.)
4. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the garnish: Melt the butter in a medium-size heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pearl onions, season lightly with salt and pepper, and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken stock, reduce the heat to medium, and cook at a lively simmer, shaking the pan occasionally so the onions cook evenly, until they are tender through and the stock has neatly evaporated, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
5. Cut the slab bacon into strips measuring 1 x 1 x 1/4 inch (2 1/2 x 2 1/2 x 1/2 cm). Brown it in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon or spatula and set it aside on a plate. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until they begin to give up their liquid, are slightly golden, and are nearly tender through, about 5 minutes. Season generously with pepper, and remove from the heat.
6. Just before serving, mince the parsley, if using.
7. Add mushrooms, the bacon, and the pearl onions, along with any juices to the chicken, and gently mix them in. Either transfer to a large warmed serving platter (one with edges, so the juice won’t run off) or serve directly from the cooking pot. Garnish with the parsley, if desired, and serve immediately. 4 to 6 servings.

  Featured Archive Recipe:
Gigi's Coq au Vin à la Beaujolaise

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