6 secrets behind coq au vin

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6 secrets behind coq au vin

Chicken. Bacon. Red wine. And that’s only three of the reasons why coq au vin will always enjoy star status in our books. EB Social Kitchen’s Russell Armstrong agrees, and shares some tricks on acing the retro classic on his menu

Carrot or not?

Some chefs believe coq au vin requires carrots; others, like Russell, don’t. We added a few to make ourselves feel virtuous.

Mushrooms

While most mushrooms work fine, EB Social Kitchen’s version stars small white button mushrooms from a local supplier. Champignon de Paris, to be precise.

Shallots vs. onions

First prize here is French shallots, but the delicate flavour of red onions works well, too.

Which wine?

“I’m not fussy, any local red wine will do,” says Russell, who starts with 8 litres of red and slowly reduces it to about one litre, resulting in a deliciously concentrated flavour.

Bring home the bacon

Streaky bacon is where the flavour’s at for Russell, who gets his smoky strips from Franschhoek charcutier Neil Jewel. “It adds depth and richness to the sauce,” he says.

And finally, the bird

Russell foregoes the rooster the original recipe calls for in favour of a 1.2 kg free-range chicken, sectioning the bird into pieces and marinating them in the red wine reduction before cooking. Streaky bacon is where the flavour’s at for Russell, who gets his smoky strips from Franschhoek charcutier Neil Jewel. “It adds depth and richness to the sauce,” he says.

Try this coq au vin recipe now.

Find EB Social Kitchen & Bar at Hyde Park Shopping Centre, corner Jan Smuts Ave & William Nicol Diver, Craighall, Johannesburg; tel: 011 268 6039

Annette Klinger Article by: Annette Klinger

Woolworths TASTE’s features writer maintains that almost any dish can be improved with butter and cream. She’s a stickler for comfort food, especially German treats that remind her of her late grandmother, such as pork schnitzel with sauerkraut and spätzlen. She is a voracious reader of food magazines and recipe books, and instinctively switches over to the cooking channel whenever she checks into a hotel or guesthouse.

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