Coq au Vin

courtesy of Tessa Edick

Serves 8

1 pound thick-slab bacon
10 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick) from farm-raised chicken (skin and bone intact)
Salt and pepper
¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon fresh butter
2 large shallot bulbs, peeled and chopped
1 pound pearl onions, peeled
750-milliliter French Burgundy red wine or similar (better the wine, better the dish!)
Bunch fresh thyme
1 pound cremini mushrooms
Optional: 1 to 2 tablespoons cream; wide egg noodles or fresh arugula

Cut the slab bacon into ¼-inch cubes and cook in a cast-iron Dutch oven over medium flame until crispy, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove bacon and set on paper towels to drain, leaving rendered bacon fat in pot.

Wash chicken legs and pat dry with paper towels. Coat each leg and thigh with salt and pepper, then dust in flour. Pan-sear chicken in bacon fat with skin-side down until crisp and brown. Cook in batches if legs don’t all fit at once in bacon rendering. Remove and set aside.

Heat butter in a separate pot (large enough to accommodate chicken legs), add chopped shallot and cook until translucent. Add the pearl onions and stir.

Add seared chicken, cooked bacon and full bottle of red wine and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for one hour over low flame. Stir occasionally.

Add fresh thyme bunch, mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook another 20 minutes over low flame until chicken falls off the bone. You can cook up to two hours. Remove bones and stalks once meat and thyme leaves fall from them. Add cream to taste if desired.

Dish may be served on its own or over a bed of noodles or arugula. Serve hot.

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