I'm a fan of slow cooking. Browning each item thoroughly, slowly caramelising the onions, carefully dicing the vegetables into an even size to make a beautiful sofrito and leaving it on a low simmer to bring out the maximum flavour and have the meat falling off the bone. Slow cooking like that is a Sunday afternoon activity, when you have all the time in the world to make a beautiful dish and the perfect side of smoothly mashed potato.
|Even when cooking quickly get some decent colour on the chicken.|
|On Tuesday night it is less about a perfect fine dice, more about a random "rustic" chunk.|
Then there is Tuesday night cooking. When a conversation with my Mum has me craving that rich casserole flavour but the reality of a working life means I want all the prep done in the minimum time. On nights like that the pan is hot, the cooking is fast, the dice is random and the potatoes are not mashed. The flavour might not be quite as deep, the meat not quite as tender, but the satisfaction is all there.
|Artistic shot of herbs - I use these ones because they grow in my garden.|
The rosemary is so close to the door I don't actually even have to step outside the house - I use it a lot.
|Yum mushrooms, all for me because S doesn't like them - score!|
This is my Tuesday night Coq au Vin. (note, I also usually throw in some bacon with the onion etc but our reliable freezer supply was unfortunately used up last night).
Tuesday Night Coq au Vin
8 pieces of chicken - i.e. drumstick or thigh is best
1 onion diced as roughly as time allows
2 carrots diced as roughly as time allows
2 sticks of celery diced as roughly as time allows
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
handful of mushrooms - mine were fairly large so I cut them into quarters
Heat a heavy casserole over a high heat. Toss your chicken with a little flour, pepper, salt, dried oregano, paprika.
Add some olive oil to the casserole and start frying the chicken in batches being sure to get a good solid golden colour on the chicken pieces.
Once the chicken is cooked, throw the onion, carrot and celery in the pot and cook stiring occasionally to make sure it doesn't stick, for as long as you want - ideally till it is all softened, but probably more like 5 or so minutes.
Throw in the tomato paste, the wine, stock and herbs, bring to the boil. Add the mushrooms and chicken and stir to coat.
Keep on a light boil until your boyfriend asks when it will be ready and starts investigating the leftover lasagne in the fridge - hopefully at least 30-50 minutes later.
Serve with boiled potatoes and slightly dehydrated peas from the freezer where you forgot to tie the bag up.
Enjoy with a big glass of wine and an episode of Masterchef.
|Note to self, the peas are much tastier if you don't let the freezer dehydrate them.|