Coq au Vin

(Chicken with Wine)

Makes 6 servings

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 3 lbs.)
1 bottle white wine – Saint Peyre Picpoul de Pinet
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
6 oz. pancetta (preferably thick-cut), cut crosswise into 1/4 -inch pieces
6-7 TBL unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered
2 medium cloves garlic, skin on and mashed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
10 parsley stems
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp tomato paste
24 frozen pearl onions (evenly sized), thawed, or fresh pearl onions
1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms (small), washed and halved if medium size, quartered if large
2-3 TBL unbleached all-purpose flour
2 TBL minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Generously sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and ground black pepper; set aside. Bring wine and chicken stock to boil in large, heavy saucepan; reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until reduced to about 4 cups, about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, fry pancetta in large Dutch oven or deep, heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium heat until fast has rendered and pancetta is golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Remove pancetta with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate to drain; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon butter with rendered pancetta fat; add carrot, onion, shallots, and garlic and saute until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Press vegetables against side of pan with slotted spoon to squeeze out as much fat as possible; transfer vegetables to pan with reduced wine mixture (off heat) and discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from Dutch oven or saute pan.

3. Return Dutch oven or saute pan to burner over medium-high heat and add another 1 tablespoon butter. When butter is melted, add chicken (in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding) and cook until well-browned all over, turning once or twice during cooking 12 to 16 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate; set aside. Pour off all fat from Dutch oven or saute pan; return to heat and add wine-vegetable mixture. Bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from bottom of pan with wooden spoon. Add browned chicken, bouquet garni (thyme, parsley, and bay leaf tied together), and tomato paste to boiling wine mixture; return to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently, partially covered. Turn chicken once during cooking, until tender and infused with wine flavor, 45 to 60 minutes.

4. While chicken and sauce are cooking, heat another 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add pearl onions and cook, stirring occasionally and reducing heat if butter starts to brown too fast, until lightly browned and almost cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms, season with salt, cover, increase heat to medium, and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Remove cover, increase heat to high, and boil until liquid evaporates and onions and mushrooms are golden brown, 2 to 5 minutes more. Transfer onions and mushrooms to plate with pancetta; set aside.

5. When chicken is cooked, transfer to serving bowl or platter; cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Strain sauce through fine mesh sieve set over large measuring cup, pressing on solids with wooden spoon to release as much liquid as possible; sauce should measure 2 to 3 cups. Return sauce to pan; skim as much fat as possible off surface. Counting 1 tablespoon each of butter and flour for each cup of sauce, mash 2 to 3 tablespoons each butter and flour in small bowl or plate to make a beurre manie . Bring sauce to boil and whisk in beurre manie until smooth. Add reserved chicken, pancetta, onions and mushrooms; adjust seasoning with salt and ground black pepper to taste, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer very gently to warm through and blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Check seasoning one more time and adjust with additional salt and ground black pepper if necessary; add parsley. Transfer chicken to serving platter; pour sauce over chicken. Serve immediately.

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