I have always loved the Alsatian version of coq au vin and this is it, stunningly streamlined. I replace the onion with leek, buy bacon already cubed, and buy chicken thighs. The dark meat is always best in a stew. I don’t bother to sear the meat, which really means you need skinless portions; unbrowned chicken skin is not pretty. If you’re not buying thighs, but thigh fillets, then it is probably more helpful to think in terms of boned weight, rather than number of portions: go, here, for about 2¾ pounds.
I tend not to add any cream to this the first time around, which is why I mention it in the ingredients list but not in my method, but if I have a small amount left over, I add a little heavy cream and turn it into a pasta sauce. I like to eat my coq au Riesling as they do in Alsace, with a huge pile of buttered noodles. Whether you add cream or not is entirely up to you.
- 2 tablespoons garlic-infused oil
- 1 cup cubed bacon
- 1 leek, finely sliced
- 12 skinless chicken thighs or 2¾ pounds thigh fillets
- 1 750-ml bottle Riesling wine
- 10 oz oyster mushrooms, torn into strips (4 cups)
- 3 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- heavy cream, optional
- 1 to 2 tablespoons freshly chopped dill
Heat the oil in a casserole or large wide pan and fry the bacon until crisp.
Add the sliced leek and soften it with the bacon for a minute or so.
Tip in the chicken thighs, wine, mushrooms, and bay leaves.
Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, cover the pan, and simmer gently for 30–40 minutes, stirring in the cream for the last couple of minutes if you want. Like all stews, this tastes its mellowest best if you let it get cold and then reheat the next day. But it’s no hardship to eat straight off. Whichever, serve sprinkled with dill, and with some buttered noodles on the side.
Nutritional information does not include optional cream.