Coq Au Vin, Smashed White Cheese Potatoes, Asparagus and Haricot Verts

coq au vin smashed potatoes haricot verts asparagus2

I love red wine + I love braising things + Chicken can be bland = Coq Au Vin.

What a great way to cook chicken. This meal came about because the temperature is dipping down and I’m craving comfort food. I’d already done the braised beef short ribs the week before so chicken sounded good. The chicken recipe is an adaptation of Ina Garten’s. I think her recipes tend to be a bit oily because of too much fat (butter, bacon, oil), hence the tweaks.

The smashed potatoes recipe is something I make all the time and I tweak every time I make it. The 7 cheese Italian blend adds a nice richness and body that I lose some of by using the 2% milk and olive oil rather than heavy cream and butter. I also like to leave the skins of the potatoes on. I love the texture and the nutrients they provide.

I’ve been craving asparagus and I always love steamed French green beans. The vegetables add a crisp and light contrast to the rich chicken and potatoes.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken, cut in pieces (most grocery stores sell already cut)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 slices of bacon, cut in lardon (I prefer Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large carrots, cleaned and cut on the bias in 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small white onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, 2 chopped and 2 smashed
  • ¼ cup Courvoisier (or other cognac or brandy)
  • ½ bottle dry red wine (I used a petite syrah)
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 heaping tablespoon AP flour
  • ½ pound frozen small whole onions
  • ½ pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 medium potatoes, cut in 1 inch cubes (use whatever kind you have)
  • 1-2 cups milk (we use 2%)
  • 1-2 cups shredded Italian 7 cheese blend (use whatever cheese you like)
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 bunch green beans (I use the French ones because I like them but use what you have)
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add bacon and cook until rendered. Remove with slotted spoon are reserve.
  3. In the meanwhile, season chicken parts with salt and pepper. Once the bacon is done, sear the chicken starting skin side down. Do this in batches as to not over crowd. Once done, set aside to the same plate as the bacon.
  4. Add carrots and onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onions are browned. Add chopped garlic and cook until fragrant (1 minute).
  5. Add Cognac, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add bacon and chicken along with any juices from the plate.
  6. Add red wine, chicken stock and thyme (just leave it on the stem, you can remove later). Cover with tight fitted lid and place in oven for 30 minutes.
  7. While you wait, heat a large pot of water to a boil and steam the green beans and asparagus. I did them separate to keep the flavors distinguished. Don’t overcook. Remove and place in ice bath or rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
  8. With the same pot, add the smashed garlic and potatoes and cook until tender. Drain the potatoes in a colander. In the empty pot add enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Add the potatoes and garlic and toss to combine. Add milk and using a smasher, smash potatoes to the consistency you like (just leave the garlic in, it usually dissolves right in). Add cheese and stir to combine. Cover and leave on low heat. Before serving add more milk if the potatoes are too thick.
  9. Remove the pot from the oven. Mash the butter with the flour and mix into the stew. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
  10. Heat a sauté pan and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and cook mushroom until browned. Add to stew.
  11. If you like your green beans and asparagus warn, then add them to the empty sauté pan and toss until just warmed through.
  12. To serve, add a pile of smashed potatoes, add the asparagus and green beans, add chicken and top with the cooking liquid, carrots, mushrooms and onions.

coq au vinFrench chicken braised in wine
Dutch oven perferct for braising chicken in wine
Coq Au Vin, Smashed White Cheese Potatoes, Asparagus and Haricot Verts

Braised Short Ribs with Pepper Potato Gnocchi, Baby Carrots and Haricot Verts

I love braising stuff. It takes a while but is always worth the wait. Chicken, pork or in this case beef cooked in delicious liquids low and slow, there isn’t much better. The beauty is you can use inexpensive cuts, tough cuts and the braise breaks them down to their most tender. Whenever the weather dips down, I immediately start thinking braising. My local grocery had good looking beef short ribs, I had some Rio Bertolini potato gnocchi (we get them at our Saturday Morning Market) and so this is what I came up with. Red wine braised beef short ribs, pepper-potato gnocchi, with steamed baby carrots and haricot verts.

This one was good, like put on the list to do again in a few weeks good. The braise was a slight adaptation of a recipe by Anne Burrell. I added the potato gnocchi as the starch and was it perfect with this. With the richness of the braise I wanted to balance it out a little so I added the baby carrots and haricot verts (which I just happened to have in the fridge). Just to add another pop, I garnished with fresh baby arugula. Yum!

Leftovers
Talk about enjoying the fruits of your labor (twice). Later on in the week I popped the leftovers, minus the bones into a pot on medium heat. Once the meat and veg was warm I shredded it with a fork, added a jar of my favorite store bought pasta sauce (Mario Batali’s Arribbiata Sauce). I added that to some spaghetti rigati and some of the pasta water. It was outstanding. OUT. STANDING.

 

Braise Ingredients

  • 5-6 bone-in beef short ribs
  • Koshar salt
  • Olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 spanish onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato paste
  • 2-3 cups hearty red wine (I used Beaujolias)
  • 1 cup unsalted beef stock, 1 cup water
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Other Ingredients

  • 1 package fresh or frozen gnocchi
  • 1 punch of haricor verts (or reqular green beans)
  • 1 punch baby carrots, cleaned and cut in half
  • 1 hand full of baby arugula
Braising Directions

  1. First, heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Once hot add olive oil. Sear the short ribs on all sides until a crust if formed. Do this in batches if necessary. Don’t crowd the ribs. Once seared, remove and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Meanwhile, add all the vegetables to a food processor and puree. Once you are done searing the ribs, add the vegetables and generously season with salt and crushed red pepper (to taste).
  4. Continue cooking vegetables until brown (not burned), stirring constantly.
  5. Once the veg is brown add tomato paste and cook approximately 4 more minutes, stirring.
  6. Add red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove the brown bits. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half.
  7. Return the short ribs to the pan. Add the stock and water mixture until almost covering the ribs. Add thyme and bay. Cover and place in pre-heated oven for three hours.
  8. Check the pan once an hour and add more liquid if necessary. During the last 20 minutes of cooking, remove the lid and allow the braise liquid to reduce.

Other Directions

  1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Cook gnocchi until they rise to the top of the pot. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. When the braise is almost done, place carrots and haricor vert in a steamer of the same boiling water and steam until desired tenderness (I prefer crunchy).
  3. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and sauté gnocchi until slightly browned, season with salt.
  4. To serve, place the gnocchi and steamed vegetables on the bottom. Place one short rib in the center of the plate and top with braising liquid. Garnish with baby arugula. Enjoy.
Braised Short Ribs with Pepper Potato Gnocchi, Baby Carrots and Haricot Verts