A TENDER, FLAVORFUL CLASSIC
Coq au vin — rooster (or chicken) in wine — is one of my favorite dishes, both ashore and aboard our 60-year-old wood cutter, Opus. It’s a French-country-cooking sort of dish that feels like a special meal, and it’s perfect either for guests or as simple comfort food. It’s a one-pot meal. Leftovers keep well, refrigerated, for a day or so after cooking, and are just as tasty the next day. The basic ingredients are readily available almost anywhere, and it’s budget-friendly. Oh, and did I mention it’s simple to make?
Originally, coq au vin came from the practical necessity of using what you had on hand (another bonus for cruising cooks). Most French farmhouses back then had a rooster. The rooster meat was typically tougher than the hens’, but it responded beautifully to braising, especially with a slightly acidic braising liquid (wine!).
Like most pleasant, flavorful peasant dishes, it can include what you have on hand, so if you don’t have a specific item in the recipe, don’t give up — improvise! (See “Ingredient Hacks,” below). Bon appétit! — Jean Kerr