Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Coq Au Vin Blanc and Incontrovertible Rules of Life

A few weeks ago, James Valentine (self described "peddlar of whimsy") proposed a series of absolutely irrefutable incontrovertible rules of life on his radio show. They are the sort of thing that everyone should know and which would make life easier for all of us if they were observed universally. The sort of thing that people should be punished for not observing, or at least given a death stare. Among them are:

1. Move to the back of the bus. It’s public transport. If you move to the back of the bus, more public can be transported.
2. Let everyone get off the train before you attempt to get on.
3. Same goes for lifts.
4. Don’t litter. Clean up your own rubbish.
5. No more than two abreast on a footpath.
6. And don’t amble in busy city streets.
7. Stay seated until it’s your turn to exit the plane.
8. Don’t crowd the luggage carousel.
9. Keep your shoes on in the cinema (surely no one thinks they should take off their shoes....)
10. If you are there first, you should get served first.
11. Return your shopping trolley.
12. When buying goods, have your payment ready.

All pretty obvious one would think. But they did make me ponder what I would include on a similar list of food related suggestions that make life easier:
1. Supermarkets should not be allowed to redesign the placing of food in their aisles more than once a decade (Bread has moved three times in the last year in my local supermarket. Grrr.)
2. If you are given a choice, buy fruit and vegies unpackaged (they are generally cheaper and better environmentally and you can pick out the best produce.)
3. If you are not going to eat them the next day, freeze and label your leftovers. No doubt a frantic weeknight will come around when you are very grateful for your little stash of meals. Even if everyone in the house gets something different for dinner.
4. Empty your fridge weekly of all science projects collecting in the vegetable crisper (the night before garbage collection is a good time).
5. Long slow oven braises are perfect anti-stress meals. Do all the work up front and then chill out for an hour or two, preferably in the bath, while the oven does the work.

Which brings me to this lovely Coq au Vin Blanc, courtesy of Cuisine Magazine's May 2009 issue. Lightened up with white wine instead of red, shallots instead of onions, and chicken stock replacing the beef stock, it was really delicious. And make sure you have some really good bread on hand, as these sauces deserve to be sopped. By the way, if you have any rules of life to add, please send them to me as a comment.
I am also sending this over to Deb at Souper Sundays. Have a look at her
offerings - perfect choices now the weather is getting colder.
Coq Au Riesling
from Lauraine Jacobs in Cuisine Magazine, May 09

1 large chicken
3-4 tbls flour
2 tbls olive oil
30g butter
3-4 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed to a paste
375 ml Riesling
375 ml chicken stock
small bunch French tarragon, coarsely chopped (I stupidly forgot this)
150g sliced button mushrooms
4 tbl cream
parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 190C. Cut the chicken into 8 or 9 pieces and lightly dust with flour. Heat the oil and 1 tbl butter over medium high heat in a heavy casserole pot. Add the chicken in batches and fry on all sides until the skin is crisp and golden (don't worry about cooking through). Remove chicken and add the shallots and garlic, and fry them over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Return the chicken to the pot with the wine, stock, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook in the oven for 1 1/2 hours.

While the chicken is cooking, brown mushrooms in a little oil, then add to the chicken with the cream for the final ten minutes in the oven. Remove the pot from the oven, and lift out the chicken and the mushrooms to a serving platter. Boil down the sauce to thicken a little, then spoon it over the chicken and sprinkle with chopped parsley.


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

The Coq au vin looks wonderful! :)I agree with most of those except I admit I kick my thongs off at the movies and I have my payment ready but it's usuallyu a credit card so I think that may be mildy annoying for some.

Debinhawaii said...

I have had a recipe for Coq Au Reisling tagged to make for ages and after seeing yours I am going to have to do it. It looks yummy! I will add it to the Souper Sundays round-up this week.

BTW--I like your food rules too!

Anonymous said...

I really love these kind of lists- the really basic common sense kind that everyone should take note of, and rarely do. Common courtesy, respect....this past weekend I encountered a bicycling organization on a ride in our semi-rural area and they were riding six abreast on a two-lane road. When I came up behind them in my car, not one of them moved out of my way. Yes, the shoulder of the road is poor but this was beyond ridiculous.

The recipe looks luscious too. I love a good braise; it's easy and it smells wonderful.

Rene said...

Lovely...will try this weekend. The rules in our house are (the 4B's as they are called):

Be Open to whatever comes your way.

Be Flexible because as my 6-year old says, 'not everything goes your way" (of course she says this when i'm asking her to get up for school in the morning)

Be Curious: we are not the center of the universe

Be There (present or "in the moment") no matter what you are doing or who you are with.