Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pearls Before Frat Boys

Lunch: Chili Cheese Fries
Dinner: Ham and Cheese Potatoes and Corn

Ok, so it is really hard to keep up with eating healthy when the kitchen smells like bacon… or like chili cheese fries. Yesterday I made coq au vin for the guys. Coq au vin is a traditional French dish of chicken, bacon and vegetables simmered in red wine. It has to simmer for hours, so when I was sitting down to my pathetic lunch of a lean cuisine the kitchen was already smelling like bacon heaven. One of the guys actually came into the kitchen for lunch disappointed because he smelled bacon upstairs only to discover that the bacon was not for lunch. I bet I could put out a large tray of bacon for lunch one day and not only would no one care that all they were having for lunch was a large tray of bacon, I would most likely also get complements on the excellence of the lunch. Again, why do I bother casting pearls before frat boys? My sister had to remind me the title of this blog is gourmand not gourmet. In all fairness, coq au vin is one of those meals that is easier to prepare in bulk than it is for 2. I also pared the recipe down a bit to make it easier and more frat boy friendly (only 1 type of onion). The bacon aside, it is also not that bad for you or that expense (I used a cheap jug of wine… I‘m not sure if frat boys are even aware that there is any other kind of wine). I received Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child for Valentine’s Day, and I have been itching to try it out. I wonder if coq au vin is in there? The plan is to have a Julia Child party sometime in the near future with my family (my dad has recently become a huge Julia Child fan… you should hear his impersonation). I’ll have to let you know how that turns out.

(Relatively) Easy, Pared-Down Coq au Vin
serves 25

24 Slices Bacon
3 lbs Mushrooms, sliced**
28 lbs Chicken Thighs and Legs, skinned
Salt and Pepper
10 medium Carrots, chopped
6 medium Yellow Onions, chopped
3 heads Garlic, minced
8 cups Dry Red Wine (I used a jug of cheap table wine)
3 6oz cans of Tomato Paste
8 Bay Leaves
6 cups Chicken Broth
Vegetable Oil (or leftover grease from bacon)

Cook bacon in the oven at 400 until crisp, 5-10 minutes, then set aside on a paper towel to drain. Crumble the bacon when it is cool enough to handle.

Sprinkle Chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a large skillet heat oil (or you can use bacon grease) and brown chicken on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch. You will most likely have to do several batches. Remove the chicken and dump the remaining grease. Add in the carrots and onions and sauté until onion softens and is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add in wine, chicken stock, and tomato paste and stir until well combined.

In a large crock pot (I used a roaster oven set to 250) combine the chicken, mushrooms, red wine and carrot mixture, and crumbled bacon. Cover and simmer for 4 hours. You may want to stir the chicken several times to ensure that the chicken at the top doesn’t dry out. The chicken should be almost falling off the bone. Serve chicken with buttered, boiled potatoes with wine and veggie sauce poured over the chicken and potatoes.

** Note: You can substitute drained, canned mushrooms is you want a less mushroomy flavor.
*** How many times can a person say bacon in one paragraphy? I think I may have broken some kind of record


  1. You should have your Julia Child party when I come home ;) I have no idea when that might be though.

  2. Or maybe I should just have more than 1 julia party...