One dish dinners make scheduling a cinch. You won’t need much to go along with this- maybe some rice or a green vegetable. So cleanup will be easy, too. During my vegetarian years, I used vegetable stock and a good seitan in place of the chicken. If you want to prep this and then put it in a slow cooker on low, you can double it. For a family meal, three pounds of chicken pieces and doubling the other ingredients will also work. (I find that without bones, the white meat dries out too much, but boneless thighs would probably do fine.)
This version is not strictly traditional, I’m quite sure. I didn’t research how it ought to be done or sample authentic coq au vin… I just tinkered around and made changes until I had a dish I liked. But it’s got chicken, and it’s got wine, and it’s darn good, so coq au vin I shall call it. I like to serve this as a “company” dish with butter noodles or plain rice, or with a green salad and crusty bread for soaking up the sauce. Because trust me… you’ll want to eat the sauce. As a shortcut, I sometimes use baby carrots, but look for the really small ones. More slender pieces of carrot get a better texture in this recipe than thicker ones.
I found the original for this recipe in one of those regional cookbooks you can find in used book stores- the self-published ones that are full of personality and delightful surprises. After significant changes to accommodate my preferences, this became one of my signature dishes.
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup red wine (cheap works. I've tried a number of kinds and thought they were all fine.)
2 skinless, bone-in chicken breasts
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
4 carrots, halved or quartered lengthwise depending on thickness
1 T olive oil
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup flour
In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium high heat.
Coat chicken breasts thoroughly with pepper and flour.
Brown chicken breasts in oil on both sides. (About 6-10 minutes.)
Remove chicken to a plate and cover. Add onions and garlic to skillet. Sautee about 1 minute.
Add mushrooms and sautee until tender, about 2 minutes.
Return chicken to skillet. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 1 hour (or more) until done.
Note: It's probably not according to Hoyle, but I prefer baby bella mushrooms in this. I find they are harder to overcook than other kinds of mushrooms. I have used beef stock in a pinch and it came out just fine. Enjoy!
I depend on my slow cooker pretty heavily these days, because the fact that both of my kids start to get very tired very early in the evening means that trying to fix dinner at dinner time is usually a disaster that rivals the great tragedies of history. The Hindenburg. September 11. Highlander II. Anyway, as I was saying- it’s really a good idea for dinner to take care of itself during the mid-late afternoon period of the day.
Today, I needed to use up the mushrooms I bought on my last grocery shopping trip so I settled on this coq-au-vin inspired slow cooker recipe that only needed basic staples aside from the mushrooms. I started with frozen chicken and it cooked up beautifully in four hours on the high setting. Every slow cooker is just a little different, so rely on your experience with your cooker to tell you whether you should reduce the cooking time or check it after three-four hours so you don’t overcook it.
I will also confess that I did not have any chicken broth on hand. What I did have was an open bottle of white wine, so I threw in a cup of that as a substitute… and It. Was. Awesome.
One of my favorite time and money savers is to “soup up” jarred pasta sauce! Nothing could be quicker or easier. Usually your time from pantry to table is 15-30 minutes! Here are two of my family’s favorite “souped up” pasta dishes. (Find the other here.)