I was recently going through my cookbook bookcase when I came across a very old copy of ‘Joy of Cooking’, by Irma S. Rombauer and her daughter Marion Rombauer Becker. Her name might not ring a bell to you right off the bat, but Rombauer is in fact a very well known cookbook author of the world’s most widely read cookbook and was one of Julia Child’s idols. Written in the beginning of ‘Joy of Cooking’ you’ll find a lovely comment from Julia Child:
“This book is number one on my list… The one book of all cookbooks that I would have on my shelf – if I could have but one.”
The story of Irma Rombauer is a very fascinating one and her book (which has been revised by her daughter over the years) is a real gem! Once I saw the book, I started browsing through it until I came along a recipe that I knew Julia Child had written too: coq au vin, or chicken braised in red wine. Keeping in mind how fond Julia Child was of Rombauer’s book, I decided to compare Rombauer’s recipe to that of Julia Child and pick bits and pieces out of both recipes to merge it into one, combining the knowledge of two real kitchen heroes together! Hope you’ll all enjoy making it as much as I did.
Serves: 4 people
- 1 whole chicken, cut up into 4 parts
- 250g chestnut mushrooms
- 3 carrots
- 5dl dry red wine, preferably Burgundy but other options are: Côtes du Rhône, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais or Chianti
- 200g salted lardons
- 1 medium onion
- 3 shallots
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 70g tomato paste
- 5dl warm water
- 1 chicken stock cube
- 3 tablespoons of flour
- 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
- salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons of butter
Chop the onions and shallots and slice the carrots. Wash your mushrooms carefully and slice them up as well, no need to peel them as this will result in a loss of their beautiful color.
Heat up butter in a skillet and brown your lardons. Once they are done, remove them but leave all the fat in the pan. Put the chicken into the pan and brown it in the lardon’s fat. When your chicken is almost done, heat up just a bit of butter in a deep pot that is big enough to fit all of the chicken pieces. Add the chopped onion, shallots parsley, bay leaf and thyme and wait until the onions are lightly browned. Remove the chicken from to pan, place it in the pot and season with pepper and salt. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir it around so it’s absorbed by all the juices, let it cook for 5 minutes while turning the chicken around once or twice. Dissolve your chicken stock cube into 5dl of warm water and add it along with the wine to your stew pot. This should be enough to almost cover your chicken. Add the mushrooms, carrots, garlic, tomato paste and lardons and stir it all together a bit.
Cover the pot and let it all simmer for at least half an hour. Test the chicken to see if it’s tender enough and leave it to simmer for another 15 minutes if you want a thicker sauce. Best served with some delicious potato mash or potato croquettes. Bon appétit!