For a dinner party last week, I made boneless coq au vin from Pam
ela Anderson's book Perfect Recipes for Having People Over. So far everything I've made from that book has turned out great (garlicky steamed clams, chicken and mushroom crepes, and the salad I served with the menu below, per Anderson's suggestion), and this was no exception.
Boneless Coq au Vin
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 lbs. mushrooms, quartered or sixthed, (yes, I made that up) depending on size (I used cremini, but button would be fine.)
1 lb. frozen pearl onions, not thawed (I couldn't find these—aside from some skeevy pearl onions in "real" sherry cream sauce—so I bought fresh ones, which were a bitch to peel but of course worked out fine.)
3/4 lb. bacon, cut into 1/2-inch-wide pieces
4 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 24 small)
2 medium-large onions, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (divided use)
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
4 bay leaves
1 bottle (750 ml) full-bodied dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot
1 quart chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large heavy roasting pan set over two burners on medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until liquid evaporates and mushrooms start to brown, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside. Add remaining 2 Tbsp butter to roasting pan, then add pearl onions and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl of mushrooms.
Add bacon to roasting pan and fry until crisp, 8–10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined plate. Leave bacon drippings in pan.
While bacon cooks, lay chicken thighs on a sheet of plastic wrap and season both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Working in 2 batches, sauté thighs in bacon drippings, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter as they brown. Add chopped onions and garlic to roasting pan and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 1/4 cup flour and cook until lightly colored, less than 1 minute. Whisk in thyme, bay leaves, wine, broth, and bacon. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover with a baking sheet or foil, and simmer to develop flavors, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300°.
Add chicken, mushrooms, and onions to pan, cover with foil, and bake until chicken is cooked through and sauce is rich and flavorful, about 30 minutes. To thicken sauce, return pan to medium heat. Mix 2 Tbsp flour with 1/4 cup water. Slowly whisk in enough flour mixture to thicken as desired. Stir in parsley and serve.
Anderson says you can make this up to 3 days in advance, which would be great if you were going to have company on a day when you had no time to cook. She recommends serving it with yellow rice, which sounded very strange to me, but I took a leap of faith and—lo!—she was right. (Just one of the many reasons why she is a famous cookbook author and I am not.) This is easy and would go with just about anything.
Yellow Rice with Green Peas
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups long-grain white rice
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, 3–4 minutes. Add rice and turmeric and stir to coat rice. Add broth and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until broth is absorbed and rice is just tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir in peas. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and serve.