My father must have been a trial to my mother; she tried on occasion to inject a bit of exotic sophistication into her cooking, but he favoured simple things. I remember him once stabbing at his plate violently, saying there was a dead mouse in his food. My mother explained that it was a prune; she’d added dried fruit to her trusty curry recipe.
One another occasion he wanted to know why supper was taking so long; pots stood all over the place and flames were erupting from one on the stove. “I’m making coq au vin” said my mother “it takes some time.”
“Well,” he said “if you muck about with that bird much longer you’re going to coq it up.”
In ‘easy, simple & delicious’ Sonia Cabano has taken coq au vin to just one pot on her stove. Ordinarily not a dish I would prepare on a week night because of the perceived labour-intensive nature of the recipe, I took it on last night.
In her intro to the recipe, she says “Use a wine that you would actually drink to make this classic French chicken dish – not some cheap plonk that entirely defeats the exercise of cooking with wine in the first place. This dish will make your house smell like a French bistro!”
And so, with a brief bit of grief, I withdrew a bottle of Kleine Zalze 2008 Vineyard Selection Pinot Noir from my rack and – yes – it did smell as though my kitchen was on holiday in France.
Coq au vin with pancetta and onions appears on page 144 of ‘easy, simple & delicious’.
I veered a tiny bit from the recipe, in order to meet Tandy’s weekly ingredient challenge, and included leeks, carrots and celery.