One of my favorite things about being the Chef at The Betty is the chance to take a classic dish or “comfort food” and make it my own. A perfect example of this is the Coq Au Vin.
Coq Au Vin, translating to cock/rooster in red wine, is a French dish that was popularized by Julia Childs. She used this recipe in her influential cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) and the television show, The French Chef. See her recipe here. This brought exposure of the dish into American homes. However, the true origins of the dish are mostly unknown.
Two of the more common stories told include Caesar & Napoleon. What remains consistent through each tale behind the dish is the utilization of using rooster from poor families. Once the rooster was no longer able to serve it’s purpose on their land, it served a new purpose on a plate.
Rooster comes out stringy and tough after being cooked, which makes it fairly unappetizing. To fix this, folks would use cheap or turned wine to submerge the bird. After cooking a long period of time the meat would become tender falling off the bone. This stew-like meal was and still is typically served with mushrooms, onions, & lardons.
Over time due to chicken becoming more affordable and reasonable quality wine more abundant, Coq Au Vin has evolved from its poverty roots. As well, the number of ways in which this dish could be prepared can change slightly. Using Riesling instead of Burgundy, for example. At The Betty, we shoot towards keeping things simple and true, yet refined.
In our version of Coq Au Vin, shallots, burgundy wine, chicken stock and, & thyme accompany a chicken leg. These ingredients get to know each other for over an hour or more with the oven at a very low temperature.
Different farms can be incorporated on this dish each week. For example, Joyce Farm or River Oaks Farm may provide the chicken. This week we will be using mixed mustard greens from Victory Farms Inc. These greens add a pepper forward flavor to the rich sauce and tender chicken. Byrd’s Mill Grits act as the vessel bringing all the flavors home for a slight twist on a classic.
Hungry yet? Come to The Betty and give this delicious dish a go. Look Forward to seeing you soon.