An opinionated blog beginning with advice on how to create the ultimate French sauces
Why you should braise your chicken to form its sauce instead of making a sauce for it separately
When you top a chicken with a sauce that is made separately from the chicken, you just can't capture the depth of flavors that you would by braising it, and letting the sauce form as the added liquid(s) reduce around the breast. (All the chicken recipes in my book use the braising technique).
After you start making à la minute sauces (AKA pan sauces) for your chicken you will probably never return to making sauces separately.
Braising your way to Chicken Coq au Vin
1. On a medium heat, cook bacon pieces until they just begin to crisp, and remove them but leave the oil in the pan.
2. Add olive oil and increase the temperature to a high flame until the bacon fat and olive oil are almost smoking, and then add the chicken breasts and boneless legs (skin-side down and away from you).
3. Sear the breasts and legs until they are golden brown on both sides and then remove them.
4. In the same pan reduce the heat to medium and sear the mushroom caps and onions on both sides until the onions caramelize and the mushroom caps begin to soften.
Searing the mushroom caps and onions
5. Strain out the oil completely and place the chicken and bacon back in the pan.
6. Add the burgundy and demi glace, and place in a 350-degree oven until the chicken is done.
7. Remove your chicken and mushrooms and make your sauce. Do this by placing the pan on a high flame and add your baby carrots and thyme sprigs.
8. Let the sauce reduce (and simultaneously cook the carrots and capture the flavor of the thyme sprigs) until it is creamy in consistency. The sauce will be quite dark in color.
Reducing your sauce.
Chicken Coq au Vin
Braising- Method of sautéing a protein and then cooking it in its own juices along with added liquid(s).
Brent Littlefield has worked as a chef de cuisine, pastry chef, saucier, and sous chef, for more than 25 years in San Francisco, San Diego, and Las Vegas.