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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Coq Au Vin and Sauteed Cabbage with Bacon and Cream

You know, I cooked these two together. My thinking was that the vin part of the Coq Au Vin would be nicely offset by the cream part of the Sauteed Cabbage with Bacon and Cream. (We had some cabbage hanging around in a post-Boiled Dinner kind of way.) Throw in a little rice, you've got a nice meal.

It was only deep into the chopping that I realized that I was going to be using an entire pound--that's right, a whole package--of bacon between the two. Oops!

Well, fear not. The Coq au Vin calls for parboiling of the bacon, which boils off some of the fat, and oddly, all of the saltiness. But then you sautee the bacon and use that fat to sear the chicken, and also you do the same thing with the cabbage without the boiling, and...well...never mind. OK, so it's not the most calorically minded dish in the world.

After the fussy steps of parboiling the bacon (oh and boiling onions too), the Coq au Vin is pretty easy to make--you just dump it all in a pot and let it do the work. A possible candidate for a slow cooker, if you've got one. Well, you also have to sautee mushrooms and then cook them down with Armagnac...OK, once you've got all the fussy ingredients actually IN the pot, you can forget about the darn thing and let it cook for a while. I do like things that give you a little space right before the meal--lasagna and other oven casseroles, stews, and so on.

This dish also features one of my favorite things--beurre manie. Another trick I learned at Yanks, beurre manie is equal parts soft butter and flour kneaded together. It's used as a last-minute thickener of sauces and is SO MUCH EASIER to use than making a roux. It tastes better than cornstarch, and it only requires one to be organized enough to actually make it in advance and keep it in the fridge. That's beyond some people (like me, usually), but on the occasions when I've actually had some on hand I've felt very professional.

However, this recipe doesn't make you feel like a loser by saying, oh, take some of that beurre manie out of your fridge--it just guides you through the steps of making a quick little bit. Easy peasy japoneasy.

The Cabbage? Super yum. I'm not a big fan of cabbage, so really any time it tastes great is a pleasant surprise to me, and, well, you can't go wrong with cream and bacon as flavor enhancers.

1 comment:

Eve said...

more feedback!
I was kinda doubtful at first, but then pleasantly surprised by the sauteed cabbage... however, what stole the show was the Coq Au Vin - which tasted amazing the night it was made and almost as amazing the next day for a cold lunch.