Thursday, November 20, 2008
Coq au vin
So, I did it. I cut up a whole chicken--or at least deciphered the instructions from How to Cook Everything while W. wielded the knife. Then I fussed in the kitchen for hours making Julia's coq au vin, which I've heard is the gold standard. I cut little Xs in the bottom of countless baby onions. I sauteed the mushrooms separately. I deglazed and flambed and braised. I even boiled the bacon, which just sounds wrong, and looks even wronger.
Gross, huh? But I had faith--in me, in Julia, in the power of a cold fall afternoon and hours to while away in the kitchen, pretending to be productive.
It was ugly purple chicken, which was fine, but it also tasted, well, eh. Flabby bacon still doesn't get me going, neither does flabby chicken skin. Honestly, I'd rather have a crispy roast over crispy potatoes and served with a crispy salad and crisp-crusted bread.
What went wrong? Why did I fail at making the gold standard of homey French chicken dishes? Are we just not coq au vin people?
Is it because I went around mispronouncing the name of the dish for the last 10 years? Vahn. Oops.
Is it because I used this 10-cent garage sale book instead of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, like any good Juliaophile would have?
Did I fail to sufficiently brown my onions? My mushrooms?
Was it the Charles Shaw? Are we too poor to make a proper wine-braised chicken? (It worked just fine with the lamb.)
On the upside, this was pretty cool:
And now we can do this: