Try a different approach to a French bistro classic | Arts And Culture

Like numerous younger cooks in the 2000s, I saw Anthony Bourdain as a design to being effective in the cooking entire world. His reserve “Kitchen Confidential” glamorized the hardworking and tougher partying life-style of a specialist cook. He used his fame to construct a career as a television temperament and writer that was an outspoken advocate for checking out the earth and paying out tribute to the job of delicacies in cultural id. He taught a lot of youthful cooks, like myself, that there was a function to spending way too a lot of hrs in windowless kitchens honing their craft.

Over 3 and a 50 percent years just after his demise, numerous of us still mourn his voice and his impact on restaurant and eating tradition.

A single of the initially books I bought for myself when I selected to cook dinner professionally was Anthony Bourdain’s “Les Halles Cookbook.” The cookbook is a great primer for cooking traditional French bistro food items which is the backbone of a lot of youthful cooks instruction in eating places.

My favored recipe from the ebook is a standard coq au vin. A entire chicken cooked with bacon lardons and vegetables in a pink-wine braise. Bourdain’s variation is the traditional acquire on 1 of the cornerstones of French bistro cooking and it is usually a group-pleaser.

Not too long ago, I located myself thumbing by means of an outdated Cook’s Illustrated magazine and stumbled upon a thing that Bourdain did not consist of in his version of the French common.

How to butcher a chicken and why you should (Hint: It will save you money on your grocery bill)

In France, coq au vin is ordinarily cooked with white wine. It’s a delicate change, but I believed it sounded exciting to try out. I experienced a stewing hen (a retired egg layer which is lean and requires a extended, sluggish cooking method) that I experienced not long ago bought and broke down for final week’s column as effectively as a box of rosé in my fridge. It was a fantastic option to experiment with a a bit new tactic to a dish I have cooked a lot of instances.

The final result was quite satisfying. My only caveat would be to marinate the chicken overnight in the wine, specially when applying a stewing hen. The acid in the wine can help tenderize the meat in advance of cooking. Also, make guaranteed that you braise stewing hens for a longer time than a younger hen. The meat needs far more time to split down in the simmering wine.


(Tailored from Cook’s Illustrated)


1 full stewing hen or broiler rooster, butchered into sections with breasts ideally break up into 4 parts

2 slices bacon

1 yellow onion, diced

2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

6 button or baby bella mushrooms, quartered

4 garlic cloves, crushed

3 tablespoons all-reason flour

3 cups dry white or rosé wine

1 cup drinking water

1/4 cup bitter product or greek yogurt


Marinate rooster items in wine right away or at minimum 2 to 4 hours ahead of cooking. 

Eliminate hen from wine marinade and frivolously dry with paper towels. Help you save the wine for cooking. Cook bacon in dutch oven above medium-substantial heat right up until fat has rendered but bacon is not also crispy. Eliminate and depart bacon excess fat for cooking. Sear chicken pores and skin and take out.

Incorporate onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms and garlic into pan and sweat on medium warmth. Stir usually to avoid the veggies from burning. Incorporate flour and stir constantly for about 30 seconds right until greens are coated and no dry flour continues to be in pot.

Little by little incorporate wine, scraping the browned bits from the base of the pot. Improve warmth to superior and simmer until eventually the mixture starts to thicken. Include water and deliver to boil.

While liquids are simmering a little bit, clear away the chicken skins and include back again to pot with the hen items. Test to keep the rooster in a solitary layer. Reduce the heat to very low, include and cook for at least 30 minutes (if working with a standard roasting/broiler rooster). If you are using a stewing hen, as I was, simmer for at least an hour. Stir from time to time possibly way.

After the meat is tender, get rid of chicken items and established apart. Take away hen skins and discard. Simmer sauce until eventually it is as thick as weighty product and stir in sour cream/yogurt. Examine seasoning.

Return hen to pot when sauce is completely ready and serve above egg noodles, rice or mashed potatoes.

Lukas Southard is The Eagle’s newsletter supervisor. Prior to joining The Eagle, he was a chef in California and New York Metropolis, a full-animal butcher and a skilled sommelier.