Sunday, 24 November 2013

How to make Coq au Vin

The aptly named Drumstick a few days ago, blissfully unaware of his impending demise.....
This isn't really a recipe for the Lazy Cook, as it's hardly a 5 minute job, nor is it for the faint hearted, really, so stop reading now if you're a vegetarian. Or you don't like seeing a bit of blood.......

First, catch your cockerels......this proved impossible to do during the day with my super-fast Silkies, so I had to wait til they had roosted for the night and sneak up on them that way. So the condemned  spent their last night huddled in a cardboard box in the garage....

Next, greet your 85 year old neighbour when she arrives on your doorstep armed with a very sharp knife and some garlic. The garlic has to be chopped onto a plate before you begin the proceedings to go into the famous sanguette,  made from the chicken blood, which is traditionally eaten after you've gone to all the trouble of murdering your own dinner. I think it's revolting, but the OH quite likes it.

Then  put a large pan of water on to boil whilst you go outside to dispatch your disgruntled poultry. No photos of this as I needed both hands to restrain the protesting birds as they presumably sensed their impending doom. My neighbour, Josette, swiftly pierced their arteries with said sharp knife and they bled all over the plate full of garlic. Looks appetising, eh?

This is what it looked like after the OH had cooked it, still not appealing to me.....

Anyway, back to the slaughtering. Next, hang up the birds to ensure they are properly dead, since if they aren't, the next bit could get messy....also, if you have a dog, don't leave it unattended with all that temptation hanging right there.....
Next, dunk your chickens in a vat of boiling water. At this point, my neighbour chose to regale me with the story of how she'd once almost incurred third degree burns when dunking a not entirely dead chicken.........
 The boys had definitely shuffled off their mortal coil though and the boiling water stayed in the bucket. Apparently this loosens the feathers making them much easier to get out. Don't leave them in too long however, or chunks of skin come off too.Then it was plucking time....
It became swiftly apparent why we don't usually bother going to all the trouble of eating the Silkies as they look exactly like a joke shop rubber chicken under all those feathers. Not exactly enough eating on one of them to feed a family of four! Still, as we've got three of them and my neighbour volunteered to do all the work, coq au vin it is. Jon Snow was definitely interested in the proceedings and had to be ejected from the kitchen for trying to gnaw on a leg.....


Next it's gutting time, Josette spent a while wrestling to pull some unidentifiable bits out of each bird and removing extremities, since we didn't want to eat the heads (apparently this "delicacy" was her father's favourite bit!). Good job she was there as I would have had no idea what to remove and what to leave in.....

Now you have your ready-to-cook birds, complete with a couple of nice wobbly things beside them on the plate which are apparently good to eat. I think some of them are gizzards......

So, having thanked your neighbour for her services, wiped the blood from the kitchen surfaces and swept up the stray feathers on the floor, the next step is to cook the poor buggers. For this, I waited until the OH came home and handed him a knife to chop them into chunks....
Then you fry them in a bit of butter, chuck in some onions, cognac, lardons and lashings of red wine. If you're feeling extra adventurous you can even set fire to the brandy. Yes, normally you'd add mushrooms too but the kids don't like them.

Finally, put it all in the slow cooker to cook for ages, since these boys are old and tough! And guess what? It was delicious.....

2 comments:

tailsfromprovence.com said...

So, you're not tough enough to dismember the boys yourself, then? Poor OH - greeted with a craving knife and "Get to work!"
The only part of it I have a problem with is the cutting of an artery to butcher them - I remember seeing it done by breaking their necks? But then maybe you won't have the blood...which just looks like black pudding when it's cooked. Quite edible. And the boys seem to have had nice plump (muscly?) thighs, too. I bet it was delicious.
And I suspect you may have some interesting comments here...

Helen Barnes said...

Oh no, the OH volunteered to do the actual cooking.....or I would have done it myself. As for the way they're killed, my neighbour has been doing it that way all her life, according to her it's far easier to get it wrong and not kill them cleanly when wringing their necks.......and I'm not about to argue with 70 odd years of experience!!

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