COQ AU VIN
4 slices thick bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces, OR 2 tablespoons (or more) olive oil 8 whole, bone-in chicken legs, cut in two Salt and pepper, to taste 20 pearl onions, peeled* 2-3 cups button mushrooms, halved* 3 whole cloves garlic, peeled 1/2 cup brandy 3 cups decent, dry red wine OR 2 cups wine plus 1 cup chicken stock Pinch thyme (optional) 1 bay leaf (optional) *see “Ingredient Hacks” below for substitutions
In a heavy pot, cook the bacon until the fat has been rendered and the bacon is crisp (add olive oil if there’s not enough fat). Remove bacon bits and drain on paper towels. Salt and pepper the chicken pieces, and brown in batches in the bacon fat. Remove chicken from pot and drain. Add the onions and mushrooms and saute until just slightly colored. Add garlic cloves and bacon bits. Return chicken to pot and add brandy. Simmer until the alcohol burns off (about one minute). Add the red wine and herbs (if you’re using them), and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 to 11/2 hours on low heat, until chicken is falling-off-the-bone tender.
(Notes: The wine will turn the chicken a bit dark. This is normal! If you’d like a thicker sauce: In a small bowl, mix a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch with a few tablespoons of pot liquid, return mixture to pot and simmer until slightly thickened.) Serve hot or warm with slices of toasted baguette or your preferred carb. Yields four portions or serves two with leftovers!