This is a fun way to get all the flavors of coq au vin without using a fork to eat it! It does take a little time, and makes a big mess, but it's yummy and you should try it.
1 whole chicken (5-6 pounds)
1 cup each of chopped onions carrots and celery
2 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs each of fresh thyme, rosemary and sage
1 bottle of red wine (I used merlot)
4 strips of bacon
Salt and pepper
Sliced mushrooms (any kind)
2 whole cloves
Agave nectar (optional)
Soy sauce (optional)
Red chili flakes (optional)
8 or so loves of soft, but not too soft bread rolls.
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Step 1: The Night Before...
Making this sandwich involves a bit of patiences. It's pretty easy to make, but you do need to marinate the chicken and vegetables overnight in red wine.
Start by breaking down a whole chicken. You can use individual chicken pieces for this, but it does help to have all those extra bones and fat, so I'd recommend a whole bird. You're going to end up shreading most of the meat anyway so you don't have to worry about perfect butchering.
Set aside the white/breast meat in the fridge (we'll use it later) and you should be left with all the dark meat, plus the chickens' back, ribs, tail and neck (No need to use the gut bag in this recipe. Discard or save for something else)
Next you chop the vegetables into rough pieces of similar size (again, no need to be perfect here), tie up the herbs with some cooking twine and add everything to a large bowl with the chicken pieces, including the garlic cloves.
Add a few whole black peppercorns and 2 cloves, then cover with red wine until evrything is submerged. Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight (I let mine sit for 24 hours.)
Now relax, tomorrow we cook!
Step 2: Browining and Simmering
First thing to do is to separate the chicken, vegetables and wine into 3 separate containers. (remove the herbs and set aside for now)
In a thick heavy bottom pot brown the bacon and render as much fat out as you can. When the bacon's cooked remove it and saute the vegetables over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until soft and slightly caramalized (seasoning with salt and pepper as you go). Discard or snack on the bacon, it's use is complete.
When the veggies are done start browning the chicken. Unless you have a really large pot you'll need to do this in batches, and if you start with the leg/thigh portions you probably won't have to add anymore oil or anything. Brown the chicken pieces for about 3 to four minutes per side (yes, even the ribs, back, tail and neck pieces) or until nicely browned. (again, season all pieces with salt and pepper as you go)
Once everything is brown, add the chicken, vegetables, herbs and a regular package of clean diced mushrooms to the pot, then add the wine, bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium low, cover and let cook gently for about 2 hours, or until the chicken is falling off the bone.
At the one hour mark check the brasing liquid (or aus jus) for seasoning. I thought mine needed a few tablespoons of soy sauce and a tablespoon or so of agave nector.
Step 3: Pounding the White Meat
While the dark meat is cooking, cut the breast meat into four long inch fingers and pound them flat between some plasic to about a 3rd of an inch thick and set aside until the dark meat is cooked.
Typically a coq au vin braises the whole chicken, but since this is a play on a french dip I think you need something extra to give the sandwich a nice mouth feel. By pounding the chicken flat and cooking it (which we'll do later) it'll give a nice textureal contrast, and since we'll be dipping the chicken in jus later, none of the flavor will be lost.
Step 4: Finishing the Cooking
Once the dark meat is falling off the bone and super tender turn off the heat and drain the whole pot (researving the liquid of course).
Separate the chicken from the vegetables (discard the vegetables) and with a fork or your fingers, take as much meat off the bones as you can. While you're doing that, use a fat separater to get as much fat out of the braising liquid as you can. Save the fat and return the liquid to the pot. Discard all chicken bones and place the shredded chicken meat back in to the liquid and keep warm on the stove until you're ready to eat.
Now, take out the flatted white meat and season well with salt and pepper and a few tablespoons of the chicken fat. Saute in a hot skillet or grill quickly on both sides. Because the chicken is so flat it shouldn't take more than 2 minutes per side to cook completely. You'll probably have to cook this in batches, so keep the cooked bits in a warm oven or foil tent to keep them warm.
Okay, you're almost ready to eat!
Step 5: Essembling the Sandwich and Eating!
Remove the dark meat from the jus and put in a serving dish of some sort.
On a haved soft roll (toasted or not) add a layer of the dark meat, then a layer of the white meat, close the sandwich and cut in half.
In a ramakin or small wide mouthed bowl, add as much of the jus as you'd like.
Dip the sandwich in the sous for every bite and enjoy!
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