Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Coq Au Vin and Bordeaux

We've been hibernating.  Curling up with pots of stews and soups full of root veggies and hearty winter flavours.  My apologies for not being able to blog them all.  The problem is they happen so fast!  We pull out a bunch of veggies from the fridge, turn on the stove, and as I turn around to chop the vegetables Nicholas has browned the meat and caramelized some onions and throws all the stuff in the pot and puts the lid on.  Honestly.  I made extra effort to make sure we shared this one.  Coq au Vin is a whole other beast of a one pot meal.  Try this before the snow melts.  Start with a whole chicken and cut into manageable pieces, carefully removing the back bone (and saving it in the freezer for another day for delicious broth!)... or buy pieces of chicken that you like if you're not up to showcasing your butchering skills.
 "Start every pot with a piece of bacon," says Nicholas.  It's one of his top 10 things to say, and the reason for his love of one pot meals, I'm convinced.  Put a handful of diced bacon or pancetta into the dutch oven, stirring until crispy.  Remove and set aside.  Throw a couple handfuls of small crimini mushrooms and small cipollini onions, stirring as they brown in the pancetta fat.  Remove after 7-9 minutes when golden brown, and set aside with the pancetta.   Brown the chicken on all side in the dutch oven for 8-12 minutes, until skin is golden and chicken is slightly cooked.  Remove the chicken and put aside.  
Add diced carrots (4 or 5 of them), a chopped onion, chopped garlic (2 cloves), chopped parsnips (2 large ones), and sautee until soft, 6-8 minutes.  Add a splash (2 big tablespoons) of dark red wine.  Return the pancetta and chicken.  Add 2 cups of stock and the rest of the bottle of wine.  Yes, a whole bottle.  And use a good bottle.
Add desired pinches of herbs, a couple of bay leaves and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.  Add onions and mushrooms and simmer for another 10 minutes, and it's ready.  Portion into bowls with lots of liquid, equal chicken and vegetables, lots of great bread to soak up the juice, and a wonderful glass of wine.  Bordeaux is a go to in this home.
Bordeaux is home to some of the most expensive wines in the world like Mouton, Laffite, Latour, Margaux and Haut Brion.  However, there are many great Bordeaux wines readily available at reasonable price points. I t is these Bordeaux wines that have inspired regions around the world to make various blends of Cabernet and Merlot, sometimes refered to as a Meritage blend in Ontario.

In their youth, these Bordeaux Cabernet - Merlot based blends should show fresh black and red berry fruits, oak and spice.  They are a pleasure to drink in all price points and ages. However, Bordeaux is best with a bit of age.  Some wines take 2 -3 years, some will take 10-20 years to fully mature.  They are known to make some of the most age worthy wines in the world.  The 1982 vintage of their top chateau wines are just hitting their prime.

When a good Bordeaux becomes comes into maturity.  It's aromas and flavours change into cooked/stewed/dried red and black fruits with plum and cassis.  That basic oak and spice that showed in its youth will start to through of new tertiary aromas more like leather, spice box, tobacco, mushrooms and graphite.

Here we have the 2004 Chateau Lescalles - Macau en Medoc-Bordeaux Superieur ($18.95 Private order through 750ml x12) There are only a few cases left.  It is almost a decade old and drinking beautifully now.  Lescalles is a small property on the left bank of the Gironde River in between the appellations of Margaux and Haut-Medoc.  They grow old vine/low yielding Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot grapes.  After traditional Bordeaux vinification, the wine is aged in french barrels for 12 months before bottling.
bon appétit.  
dinner is served.

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