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I first fell in love with French cooking when I was in high school and made Coq Au Vin for a French club potluck. The savory red wine sauce, laced with bacon over fall-apart tender chicken and sweet carrots is a refined dinner that is elegant enough for company, but easy enough for any family dinner night. I chose to serve mine over brown rice with a side of organic artichokes that I couldn’t resist drizzling with a little of the bacon fat. Not a healthy choice I know, but it’s not often I cook with bacon, so I couldn’t resist and it was totally worth it!

This meal was basically one of those where I threw everything into one pot, let simmer and relaxed for a while. I love those kind of meals! Cook a little, relax a little and voila! So without further delay….

Coq Au Vin

1 1/2 pound chicken (I used bone-in thighs with the skin removed. You could use boneless as well.)

1 1/2 cups hearty red wine (I used a favorite Cabernet Sauvignon. Remember, if it’s not good enough to drink, it’s not good enough to cook with. Do you want your food tasting like a nasty wine? Nope!)

2 cups chicken broth

4 oz tomato paste

2 shallots, diced

2 carrots, cut in thick slices

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

8 oz bacon

I used my Dutch oven on the stove top. You could also use your slow cooker, but cook longer. Pour wine in your pot. Then add chicken broth and tomato paste. Whisk lightly to break up the tomato paste and mix with other liquids. Add remaining ingredients, except for bacon. Simmer over medium low heat, covered for 1 hour. Tilt the lid on your pot to vent and cook another 30 minutes. Increase he heat a little if needed to maintain the low simmer.

Meanwhile, cook your bacon in a frying pan and once cooked tear or dice. Shortly before serving, add the bacon to your pot of coq au vin. If you want to keep this dish on the lighter side, you can leave out the bacon. It will still be good, but you know what they say, “Everything is better with bacon!”

This dish is very saucy and is very nice served over rice.

Voila!

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