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Seriously Simple: Make-ahead braised chicken warms up chilly nights

By Diane Rossen Worthington, Tribune Content Agency on

Coq au vin is a simple, rustic dish that translates to chicken with wine. Julia Child made this peasant dish famous on her cooking show and in her books. Some versions are made with white wine; others are marinated overnight with wine and vegetables and still other styles include sauteed winter vegetables.

A basic coq au vin is sauteed and then slowly simmered in wine, and bacon is added to bring a slightly smoky flavor to the rich wine sauce. There is usually a long list of ingredients in the recipe. But this Seriously Simple adaptation streamlines the preparation of the dish.

Originally developed to use up older, tougher chickens, the chicken was usually long braised in a wine sauce to become tender. Young chicken pieces are used now so there is no need to braise them for hours. I prefer air-chilled chicken for a better flavor. This simplified stovetop recipe is relatively quick to prepare and takes about less than an hour to cook. And best of all, it gives up nothing in flavor. You can use any variety of chicken parts totaling about 3.5 pounds. If you want extra, you can add two chicken breast halves or thighs.

This is the kind of dinner I yearn for on a chilly evening after a very long day. This coq au vin variation combines earthy dried mushrooms and crispy smoked bacon along with sweet caramelized onions to create a rich depth of flavor. Braised garlic cloves add a mellow garlic essence. I like to serve this right out of the pan for a rustic presentation. Steamed baby potatoes and roasted carrots make excellent accompaniments. Serve a sliced crusty baguette in a basket alongside to soak up any juices. I always make sure to serve the same style of wine used in the dish as my beverage.

Braised Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Wild Mushrooms

Serves 4

 

1 ounce dried wild mushrooms

6 applewood bacon slices, about 4 ounces, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 (3.5-pound) chicken, cut into pieces

Salt

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