Cucina Valentina

Cucina Valentina

Friday, January 20, 2017

Coq Au Vin Blanc

Don't you love it when something pops into your life unexpectedly like a breath of fresh air, eliciting a rush of excitement and appreciation?

A new grocery store opened up near my house and I feel like I've just made a new best friend.  It's different than any store I've ever been to.  

Founded in Germany, Aldi has been around awhile in the UK, but just debuted in the US.  I was thrilled to find that, much like World Market, Aldi stocks an amazing array of European cheese, chocolates and wine.

It's not large by any means and it is most certainly a "no frills" sort of place, where you bring your own shopping bags and pack groceries yourselfShopping carts cost a refundable quarter - an incentive to bring them back to the store rather than leaving them in the parking lot for an attendant to retrieve, and produce is set out in crates, eliminating the need for personnel to set out displays.

The brands are mostly unrecognizable, but if you're not brand loyal and are unafraid of trying something new, I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised.  Major manufacturers of the brands we know and love private label to Aldi.  Try the Cracked Black Pepper whole grain woven wheat crackers...

All of these minimalist strategies translate into prices you just can't beat.  Kitchen staples like eggs, milk and bread, are at least half the cost of conventional grocery stores.  The produce is practically wholesale.  I'm talking baseball size avocados for .43 cents each!  

Their meat is was really impressed me.  Not only are the prices startlingly low, but the quality is fantastic.  

Between Aldi's crazy-low price on bone-in chicken thighs and and the recent gift of an eggplant-colored Le Creuset braiser, I was overcome with the desire to tackle (what I consider to be intimidating) - French cuisine.  A one-pot, warm and savory dish, Coq Au Vin.  

And not in the classic French style.  After last week's double batch of Bolognese, I am all tomatoed out, so I decided to create a Coq Au Vin Blanc, substituting Chardonnay for the traditional Burgundy and omitting tomato paste.

Below is the end result, and it was delicious.  I'm excited to share this recipe with you.

The key to getting a nice crust on the chicken is a good sprinkling of flour after the herbs and seasonings, and plenty of HOT butter and oil in the pan. 

Laying flavors is key, so when you start with olive oil infused with natural sage, you are sure to achieve a stellar result.


Coq Au Vin Blanc



6 - 8 bone-in chicken thighs
3 celery stalks
1/2 fennel bulb
3 carrots
1 potato - diced
6 garlic cloves
3 shallots
1 jalapeno (optional)
1/4 lb mushrooms
1 C Chardonnay
1 C chicken broth
1/2 C heavy cream
1/2 C peas (optional)
2 T butter
2 T sage olive oil
1 T Dijon mustard 
1/4 C flour
1 t thyme
1 t rosemary
1 t sage
Lawry's seasoned salt


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat butter and oil in a heavy braiser on medium high heat.  Trim fat from thighs and season both sides generously with Lawry's, dried herbs, fresh ground pepper and flour.

Sear thighs until they develop a golden brown crust on both sides.  Deglaze with Chardonnay and cook down a few minutes.  Add rough chopped vegetables and chicken broth.  Cover and transfer to oven for 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Return braiser to stove top.  Remove chicken to a plate and cover.  Bring vegetables and sauce to a boil over medium high heat, just a few minutes, until it begins to reduce and thicken.  Stir in cream Dijon mustard and peas, then simmer a few minutes longer.

Serve garnished with chopped parsley.

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