COQ AU Vin, or rooster’s egg, is a very old and famous French dish. It can be prepared in many ways but the traditional one is made of white meats that are cooked with a lot of pink salt, usually Rosemary, annato (sesame) and garlic. The ingredients used are varied but have to be of high quality. There is no precise recipe but this dish usually consists of pieces of lean meat such as veal, lamb or goose and they are all cut into strips or chunks. It is then slow roasted until it becomes a brown colour.
Some people say that the origins of coq au vin can be traced as far as the Middle Ages. Some historical accounts say that in those times the French people used rabbit’s eggs to make this famous dish. The legend goes on to say that if the rabbit’s eggs were left to dry in the sun they would hatch an egg for every day the animals spent without being cooked. People soon learned about the benefits of using saffron in the recipe and they started using it even though they thought it was not really necessary as saffron has its own medicinal value.
The classic recipe for coq au vin uses garlic, onion, butter and herbs for flavouring. Other ingredients that can be added are dried thyme, bay leaves, Rosemary, oregano, laurel leaves, chopped onions, chopped chicken pieces, chicken broth, butter, salt and lots of pink salt. Normally this dish is served with white rice. In some versions it is served with rice that has been cooked in milk. Some people prefer to use sweet potatoes instead. They have to be cut into small pieces so as to resemble the texture of a cooked potato.
In most cases the chicken is always served with the coq au vin. In the early days people would add onion, garlic, pepper and Rosemary to the mix. This was to enhance the flavour. But slowly this traditional combination has been changed and now the recipe uses bacon, goose meat or lamb.
To make this fabulous and healthy coq au vin dish you need to have some quality ingredients. First you need to get good quality French white flour to roll out your dough. Once you have the flours out, make sure you have some unsalted butter. You can buy French brandy at almost any supermarket or health store and in any case you should use unsalted butter, as unsalted butter is very healthy and it has a much better flavour than the regular margarine.
Then you need to put your butter and flour into a bowl and mix them until they become soft. Then you take about half a cup of this mixture and roll it into a rough ball. After this you will cut the mixture into pieces, but be careful, do not cut the butter into small pieces as it will stick. Put the pieces into your baking sheet and start rolling them out. Once you finish rolling them, turn them over so that they are right side up and then cut them again.
Now you want to place about one inch of this cut up bits on each plate. These are known as ‘sourdocks’ and they will keep the sauce warm and give it some depth. In about ten minutes or so you can serve this onto your plates but be careful as you do not want the sauce to burn. You can also garnish your dish with chopped parsley and if you have a strong variety of cheeses you may want to include soft cheese on each piece of plate.
If you have a large pot, such as a twelve cup sized pan, then you will be able to cook your Coq Au Vin in a much faster period of time. Start by heating the pot to the proper temperature and then bring it to a simmer. When the coq Au Vin has finished cooking, remove it from the heat, allow it to cool down for around twenty minutes, and then continue to heat it for about five minutes more so that the onions, garlic, and thyme begin to develop and cook thoroughly.