I did it.
I bought another kitchen toy.
In all fairness I don’t buy new toys often, maybe one or two a year, and I never buy expensive toys (although…..)
I bought a slow-cooker.
I did not buy the cook book that used canned soups in the slow cooker.
I decided that if I can’t figure out how to adapt my own recipes to the slow cooker without the aid of condensed soups, I shouldn’t own one.
Since it was my new toy it seemed only fair that mon mari get to choose the first recipe.
Bless his heart – he picked something easy: Coq au Vin. .
Slow Cooker Coq au Vin
Total time: 8 hours
- 4 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
- 4 chicken legs, boneless, skinless
- 1 onion, cut into wedges
- 1 carrot, cut in half the long way, then into 1 inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed lightly
- 1 bouquet garni – or 1 bay leaf, 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1 bottle (.75L) hearty red wine, decent, drinkable wine, you may not use it all
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 3oz (90gr) bacon, cut into matchsticks
- 4oz (120gr) mushrooms, trimmed. sliced
- 8 shallots, peeled, left whole
- 1 tbs pure cocoa not a ‘hot chocolate’ mix
- 2 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 3 tbs water you may not use it all
- To marinate:
- Put the chicken, onion, carrot, garlic and bouquet garni in a deep bowl.
- Pour enough wine over to cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
- To cook the chicken:
- Remove chicken from marinade and drain well (over marinade).
- Reserve marinade.
- Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon and fry until crisp.
- Put into slow cooker
- Add shallots to skillet and lightly brown.
- Add to slow cooker
- Add chicken to skillet and brown on all sides.
- Add to slow cooker.
- Add the mushrooms to the slow cooker.
- Add a bit of marinade to the skillet to get all the good bits, stir well and add to slow cooker.
- Add all vegetables and herbs from marinade to chicken and enough of the marinade to almost cover the chicken. Add more wine if needed.
- Cover and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours, stirring / rearranging chicken once or twice.
- To finish:
- Using a ladle, remove as much of the wine sauce as possible and put into a saucepan.
- Turn slow cooker off but leave chicken in and cover to keep warm.
- Bring sauce to a boil over medium heat.
- Put cocoa into a small bowl. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup sauce.
- Slowly whisk cocoa mixture into simmering sauce. Continue whisking until it returns to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to reduce slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Dissolve cornstarch in water. Use to thicken sauce to desired consistency if needed. (The cocoa will thicken it slightly.) I used about half – the sauce is supposed to be a bit thick but not gluey.
- Arrange chicken and vegetables on a small platter. Spoon some sauce over and serve the rest on the side.
For the curious….
I did what I always do when I’me buying something unfamiliar.
First I do a bit of generic on-line research. I looked at various models and sizes and manufacturers; checked out the reviews and opinions.
Then I go to Amazon UK to see what’s available on this side of the pond and to read the Amazon reviews.
Finally, after I’ve made my decision, I go to Amazon France to order it. When you live in the middle of nowhere almost every purchase of anything other than food is done online – usually Amazon,
I ordered it on Sunday and it was delivered on Thursday – which is really amazing (the whole living in the middle of nowhere thing…)
It came in a huge box.
Inside the big box was a medium box and a small box. The medium box was the slow cooker and the small box was a plug converter….. It was a British slow cooker with the usual monster 3-prong electrical plug which doesn’t work here in France.
It’s the little things that keep life interesting….
Back to the food: The Coq au Vin was wonderful. The chicken very moist and tender. I made a few adjustments to the recipe – I added the shallots and mushrooms at the beginning instead of half-way through the cooking time because I didn’t want to fuss again. Slow cookers are supposed to be easy.
And I left the carrot and onion from the marinade in the dish – why not?
We didn’t notice any difference.
I was much happier doing all the prep work in the afternoon rather than at dinner time. Normally Coq au Vin takes a bit under 2 hours, which means that I’m in the kitchen for those 2 hours before dinner. This was easier.
More slow cooker recipes in the future…. lots more, actually.