Like I mentioned in my last post, I’ve just relocated half way across the country to the most eastern tip that is St. John’s, NL. Because of this, my kitchen is kind of bare. I don’t have all my regular herbs and spices, my pantry full of goodies is actually quite empty, and my fridge is as barren as the Sahara desert. Of course, there’s bacon, but not much else. My quick trip to the store allowed me to pick up some basics so I could feed myself while I got settled in: some chicken, some mushrooms, an onion or two and wine – there will always be wine. Then I realized I could make a classic French recipe – heavily trimmed down for both me and you – and showcase the simplicity at its core. Coq au Vin, literally translated to Rooster with Wine. This is usually a whole chicken cooked in 2 or 3 bottles of wine with some bacon or other cured pork, mushrooms, pearl onions and a basic stock. I didn’t have a whole chicken and I wanted to drink the majority of my wine, so I’m going to show you a pan-seared version of the same flavour profile.

Ingredients:

4 strips Maple Leaf Bacon

10 Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

2 tbsp Butter

1 Small Onion, diced

3 cups Mushrooms of choice, sliced

¾ cup Red wine

Salt and Pepper

Directions:

1. First thing, let’s get all of our slicing, dicing and chopping out of the way. It’s actually not that much – the list of ingredients isn’t all that long. So slice up your mushrooms. I used mini-Portobello and Oyster mushrooms and left them fairly thick. I want them to have some tooth to them at the end…

2. …and dice up your onion. I only used red onion here because that’s what I had on hand. I recommend using a small yellow onion for a little more intense onion flavour in the dish.

3. You can also chop up your bacon and start that in the frying pan. I did roughly a ¼” slice on the bacon and fried it until it was crispy.


4.
Remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the gorgeous rendered fat. Season your chicken thighs with salt and pepper and sear them in the bacon fat for about five minutes per side.

5. We want these to get some nice colour on each side, and because they are so thin, this searing will pretty much cook them right through, as well.

6. Remove your chicken to a plate, and add a couple of tablespoons of butter to the goodness left in the bottom of the pan.

7. Toss in your mushrooms and onions and sauté until they’ve released all of their water. Don’t forget to season with a little salt and some black pepper.

Now, I know some of you are going to say, “But Chef Rob! You’re crowding the pan! You’re not going to get a proper sauté on the mushrooms!” Yes. I know. I was very hungry and I couldn’t be bothered to do the mushrooms in batches. Instead, I let them cook down so that they released the majority of their water, then pressed them down into a single layers much as I could. I let those fry in the pan without touching them for a couple minutes and got a nice crispness on the one side of the mushrooms. That was good enough for me!

8. Once you’re satisfied with the sauté on your mushrooms, add in your wine and your reserved chicken. Simmer until the wine has reduced and been sucked up by everything in that big ‘ol pan. This will finish the cook on the chicken and heat those thighs through.

9. Serve how you wish. I’m trying to be healthy, so I served it over a bed of baby greens.I recommend something like a potato whip, or maybe some steamed rice, or egg noodles. Yeah, this would be kinda cool with egg noodles.