Over the weekend we finally picked up a few pumpkins, and last night when we’d finished dinner we got to work on decorating them. The first year (maybe two?) that Shane and I got pumpkins we carved them in the traditional way. It was fun, but messy and a lot of work. I wasn’t terribly good at it either. More recently, we’ve started using little kits we picked up at Target to make our pumpkins Halloween-ready. We have kits to turn our pumpkins into pirates, skeletons, princesses, and vampires. The pieces in the kits are almost like the parts to Mr. Potato Head – they have little pegs on their ends which you stick into the pumpkins. We like to mix and match the kits sometimes too, vampire-princess, anyone? This year we kept it simple and started a band of pirates. His and hers. As an added bonus, this method of decoration means the pumpkins last longer than when we carved them too.
We didn't have this coq au vin last night, but we could have. It's a quick version of a classic dish, and definitely doable on a weeknight. I do advise prepping the veggies ahead of time though - the sauce comes together quickly once you get going, and it takes a while (or at least it takes me a while) to clean all of those mushrooms. I've never made classic coq au vin, so I can't say for sure how this quick version compares, but we enjoyed it. Mushrooms are one of my very favorite foods but I rarely make them since Shane's not a fan so they were a real treat in this dish. Next time I'll serve the coq au vin over egg noodles or potatoes to soak up the rich sauce.
You could switch this recipe up a number of different ways. Chicken thighs would be good, as would skin-on, bone-in chicken. The addition of rosemary would probably be nice too. Instead of popping the chicken in the oven to stay warm once it's cooked, you could throw it in the pan with the sauce. I might also consider holding the bacon (or at least some of it) out and garnish with it next time. As written below, the bacon cooks in the sauce, and while it does impart a nice, smoky flavor, it also loses its crispness.
Quick Coq Au Vin
adapted from Bon Appetit (via Epicurious.com)
4 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
8 oz large crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, halved
6 large shallots, peeled and halved (or quartered if really large)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
4 teaspoons all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 170 F.
Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat until browned and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Season the chicken on both sides with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Cook the chicken in the reserved bacon fat until browned on both sides and cooked through (about 6 minutes per side). Transfer the chicken to an oven-safe dish, tent with foil, and place in the oven to keep warm.
Add the mushrooms and shallots to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 15-30 seconds. Add the wine, 1 1/4 cups chicken broth, the bacon and 1 tablespoon of parsley. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring occasionally. Allow to continue boiling for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth with the flour in a small bowl. Add to the sauce and continue cooking until the sauce thickens slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon the sauce over it to serve and garnish with the remaining tablespoon of parsley.