Coq au Vin
Photo by Kellene Bishop
This is a favorite dish of French bistro heritage and typically requires hours and hours of watchful cooking throughout the day. Some recipes even insist on preparing it in three steps, allowing for an overnight rest period, but with a pressure cooker, we’re going to convert your chicken of choice into a delightful dish that can be served on its own or with your favorite starch. This dish makes plenty of delicious gravy, so be sure you have some crusty bread to sop up the rich sauce.
Traditional recipes call for a whole chicken that’s cut into eight pieces and skinned. I personally prefer to make it with boneless, skinless thigh meat because bits of meat incorporate into the sauce, usually making it a meal in and of itself. Traditionally this recipe calls for small or pearl onions in addition to thick slices of regular onion, however, I use the dehydrated or freeze-dried minced onions. You can also incorporate fresh or freeze-dried produce in the recipe, including the addition of carrots and asparagus. The recipe traditionally calls for fresh herbs, and though they are always my first choice in any dish, dried herbs are more likely to be on your shelves at home. So feel free to use them as I’ve outlined in the recipe.
4-5 slices of bacon
Whole, 4-6 pound roasting chicken, cut into 8 pieces, skinned OR you can use your own canned skinless chicken thighs
1-2 T. of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 cups of thinly sliced leeks (Use reconstituted freeze-dried or fresh, favoring the white parts the most. If using fresh be sure that they are thoroughly cleaned.)
2 T. of dehydrated crosscut celery
1.5 cups of dry, red wine or red cooking wine or sherry cooking wine–or red juice of your choice
1 cup of water combined with 1 teaspoon of Shirley J’s chicken bouillon OR 1 cup of canned chicken broth
1 large bay leaf
1/2 t. of thyme leaves
1/3 to 1/2 cup of freeze-dried mushrooms
1/3 cup of dehydrated minced onion or 1 pound of small white onions, peeled
2 T. of dried, minced parsley
2 T. of all-purpose flour combined with 2 T. of room-temperature butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Over medium-low heat, fry the bacon in the pressure cooker without the lid until crispy. Your goal is to render as much of the fat from the bacon as possible. Remove bacon from the pan, drain well, and then crumble. Set aside.
Using the bacon fat in the pan, brown the chicken pieces, separating them in batches as necessary to brown each of them on all sides. Set aside the chicken when finished browning. Increase the heat to medium and add the leeks and garlic, sautéing them for two to three minutes until soft. Add the celery and cooking wine and be sure to scrape up any bits of leeks and garlic from the bottom of the pan as you deglaze it with the cooking wine. This gives added flavor to your dish and prevents the pan from cooking unevenly. Stir in the chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, and mushrooms. Stir to coat all of the ingredients. Gently place the chicken on top of the herb and vegetable mixture and then place the lid on the pressure cooker in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Increase heat to high. Once high pressure is achieved begin set your timer for nine minutes. When time has expired, remove the pan from its heat source and release your pressure via the quick-release method.
Remove the lid with it tilting away from you and gently remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon. Set aside on a serving platter. Discard the bay leaf. Increase the heat to medium heat and then using the pressure cooker as a regular pot, bring the remaining ingredients to a boil without the lid. Slowly add the butter and flour mixture, stirring constantly to avoid scorching, until the sauce has thickened. (About two minutes). Pour about half of the sauce over the chicken and top with the crumbled bacon. Serve with your favorite starch such as pasta, rice, or potatoes. Serve the additional sauce according to your diners’ preference.