It feels like we’ve been working our way towards this first recipe post for a long time. It wasn’t for a lack of ideas, simply that we had too many. As often happens, once the decision was made it seemed so obvious. What better way to start than with a reliable, slightly indulgent old favorite reinvented for our slow cooker – Julia Child’s Coq au Vin recipe.
As an ex-pat and a home cook in France, Julia underwent something of a transformation and re-invented herself, on a personal journey to “make things happen”. Her evolution as a culinary ambassador to French cooking in America during the 1960’s left a legacy – accessible French cuisine for the home cook.
I’m on an ex-pat adventure myself, one which includes considerable mulling over maps of my adopted country and planning roadtrips. While on vacation in Washington DC this summer, I had the unexpected pleasure of watching a reconstruction of Julia Child’s kitchen for an exhibition at the Smithsonian, marking her 100th Birthday year. (Yes I was the one with my head pressed up against the protective boarding trying to peer through the gap)
Meanwhile, Meg was hiking the Inca Trail, winding her way up the well worn path on a family adventure and working towards a personally significant milestone: taking her oldest son to college.
As this year heads into its penultimate season and we move into shorter days with cooler weather, we’re craving the rich, filling and flavorsome goodness of Coq au Vin we’ve adapted for our slow cookers. The tweaks we made are minimal: the liquid content has been reduced because there is so little evaporation in the slow cooker.
In the words of Julia Child “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”
Recipe adapted from Julia Child’s Coq au Vin: Mastering the Art of French Cooking
2 ½ to 3 lbs skinless chicken thighs & legs
1/3 cup flour
salt & pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
4 slices lean bacon, cut into 1” strips
12 baby onions, (24 pearl) peeled and left whole
½ lb button mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup cognac
1 3/4 cup red wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large sprig thyme (or a generous 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
fresh parsley, chopped
|Zen Toolkit“Mise en place” a french culinary term which means organizing the process of cooking by making it more efficient, helping prevent mistakes or forgetting vital ingredients. Line up your spice jars and set out dry ingredients the night before.|
|Zen MomentThe secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.