Getting hold of an old coq isn’t as easy as you might imagine. You rarely find them on sale these days. You almost invariably have to settle for a young chicken instead.
However, when you’re making a classic such as coq au vin, it doesn’t matter too much. Free-range chickens will give you a similar rich flavour. That’s what I used when I made this dish last night.
As the evenings draw in it is the perfect dish. The recipe originates from Burgundy and was, originally, peasant food. It used old roosters – coqs – and local wine. Both were abundant and cheap.
The other main ingredients are shallots, bacon and mushrooms, and plenty of butter.
The recipe has adapted over time, and there are plenty of regional variations too.
Just as well. I didn’t fancy using the only Burgundy I currently have in the house – a rather nice Nuits-Saint-Georges – when I cooked this. That would have been a waste. Instead, I used some of my bag-in-box Clos des Verdots.
I also threw in some carrots during the cooking process too. They would have been wasted otherwise. I know that means the result isn’t strictly coq au vin, but in a rustic stew such as this, I don’t think it matters too much.
Judging by their appreciative noises and clean plates, I don’t think Damon or our lodger, Seunghwan, minded.