Classic coq au vin, powered up with umami (mushrooms and ham). Photo courtesy UmamiInfo.com.
Last Updated March 2012
Recipe: Coq Au Vin Nouveau
By David Kasabian
Coq au Vin is a classic French recipe, a bistro favorite, and one of the first things many people learn to cook as they approach the French repertoire. This recipe is the favorite umami-rich dish of umami expert David Kasabian. The recipe comes from the book, The Fifth Taste, Cooking with Umami, which David co-authored with his wife, Anna.
Coq au vin is French for “rooster in wine [sauce],” a fricassee* traditionally cooked with lardons (salt pork), mushrooms and garlic. Older roosters were preferred because they contain more connective tissue, which creates a richer broth. In postwar America, chicken is most often substituted for rooster and smoked ham for the lardons.
*A fricassee is a stew of chicken or other white meat (veal is popular), cooked on the bone in a white gravy with carrots and onions or leeks. It is generally served with noodles or dumplings.
Make the recipe a day in advance so the umami and flavors can develop. Serve it with rice, noodles or roasted potatoes as a side, plus a fruity white wine, like the one used in the recipe. The recipe serves 4.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces lean smoked ham, diced medium
- 8 skinless chicken thighs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour or Wondra
- 1 medium onion, diced medium
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup minced shallots
- 1 cup cremini or button mushroom slices, 1/4" thick (1/3 to 1/2 pound)
- 1 cup fruity white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
- 1 14-ounce can lowfat chicken broth
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 2 stalks celery, sliced 1/2-inch thick
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- Choose a heavy Dutch oven or skillet with a tight-fitting cover, large enough to fit the chicken in no more than two layers plus the vegetables. In this pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil, add the ham and sauté until browned all over. Remove and reserve the ham, leaving as much of the oil in the pan as you can.
- Liberally season the pieces of chicken with salt and pepper and dredge them in the flour. Add the remaining oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, sear the pieces of chicken thoroughly on all sides until well browned. Take care not to scorch the flour coating, but do let it get brown. Do this in batches. Reserve the chicken with the ham.
- Return pan to the burner and set to medium. Add the onion, garlic, shallots, and mushrooms, and saute for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until tender and fragrant. Add the wine, chicken broth, carrots, celery and thyme, and let the pan come to a boil. Add the reserved chicken and ham. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 45 to 50 minutes, until the chicken is very tender and the sauce has thickened from the flour. Taste and correct seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Arrange chicken pieces and vegetables on a warmed platter, and cover with the sauce. Serve with rice, noodles or roasted potatoes.
Learn more about umami in David and Anna Kasabian’s seminal book, The Fifth Taste: Cooking with Umami.
Beyond and complementary to four tastes Westerners have been trained to identify (sweet, sour, salty and bitter), umami is the savory, pungent, meaty quality found in foods such as soy sauce, Parmesan cheese, red wine, mushrooms, truffles, cured meats and oysters.
The book contains more than 50 umami recipes, spanning every occasion.
Recipe and recipe image courtesy of Umami Information Center. © 2007 UMAMI Information Center. All rights reserved. Additional material
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