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Coq au vin with vin blanc

According to the calendar, spring has arrived. A stroll through the park peeks your interest with the arrival of daffodils and the abundance of flowering trees just ready to bloom. At the market, we are just beginning to see the beautiful white asparagus, english peas and fava beans, but with the remaining chilly days in the forecast, it seems that spring can be a bit finicky. 

In the kitchen, it's still too early to banish braised meats and creamy potatoes just yet, but we'll lighten them up with a little taste of spring. Coq au vin is a classic Burgundian dish and is typically made with red wine, however, we prefer to use a dry white wine in the warmer months as it makes for a lighter version of the well-known dish. In addition, for a quick and easy preparation, we substitute the classic pearl onions with a chopped onion.

Coq au Vin with Vin Blanc

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces thick-cut bacon slices, cut into lardons (rectangles 1/4 inch across and 1 inch long)

1-4 pound chicken, backbone removed, cut into 8 pieces (2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings with top quarter of adjoining breast, 2 breasts)

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 medium onion, chopped

6 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 cups dry white wine
1 bouquet garni (4 sprigs thyme, a small bunch of parsley, and 1 bay leaf)
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

for the mushrooms

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound assorted fresh wild mushrooms

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat oil in a heavy large pot (wide enough to hold the chicken in a single layer) over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and sauté until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a small bowl. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Sauté, skin side down, in 2 batches until golden brown (do not turn), about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pot. Cook the garlic, onion and carrots over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden and just beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and boil, uncovered, until reduced by about half, 3 to 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot, skin side up, add the bacon and the bouquet garni. Cover with stock and simmer, partially covered, until cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the mushrooms. Place a skillet over high heat with the butter and extra-virgin olive oil. As soon as the butter foam has begun to subside, which indicates it is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly browned. Add the mushrooms to the pot and bring to a simmer, basting the chicken with the sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 4 to 5 minutes to incorporate the flavors. Adjust the seasoning and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serve from the pot or arrange on a hot platter with creamy mashed potatoes.