If you limit your choice only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise. -Robert Fritz
My husband grew up on a meat and potatoes diet. When we met, I was happily heading down the road to becoming vegetarian. Somehow, none of that got in the way of a budding relationship. Now, married and three kids later, we still apply the golden rule of marriage to every meal- compromise. And that’s why coq au vin in our house looks like this.
It’s still very much like the famous French dish, only it has a lot more vegetables added to it. And this one has a springtime twist to it. (Yes, we have an autumn version as well.) Packed with asparagus, peas and carrots, as well as the usual pearl onions and mushrooms, cooked with white wine and cream, this one-pot-meal is bursting with flavour and comes with a rich, creamy sauce. It’s the perfect lazy Sunday comfort meal or an easy dish to impress dinner guests with. Be sure to have some freshly baked bread to mop up the sauce!
I have a confession to make though. To date, all my posts have featured our dishes as is. I’ll throw in a prop or two or fuss with the styling but the food is just as it would be if I were not photographing it. As well, I keep post-processing of my images to a minimum so what you see is pretty much what we ate. But not with this post! Well, it is what we ate but I cheated slightly. I actually steamed the carrots, peas and asparagus separately and added them to the casserole as a final step, ensuring they remain bright green and orange for the photo session and not drenched with the sauce. There, now you know… no more guilty feelings!
Coq au Vin Blanc with Spring Vegetables
- 40 g butter
- 4 whole skinless chicken legs
- 275 g pearl onions, peeled
- 20 g garlic, minced
- 700 g crimini mushrooms, left whole if small or otherwise cut in half
- 2 cups white wine
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus extra for garnishing
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups cream
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 275 g carrots, sliced
- 200 g asparagus, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
- 275 g peas
- Melt butter in a large casserole. Place chicken legs and allow to brown over medium-high heat. Turn the pieces over and allow the other side to brown. Remove chicken and set aside on a plate.
- In the same casserole, over medium heat, add onions and allow to soften (about 3 minutes).
- Mix in garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.
- Mix in mushrooms and cook covered until they are softened (about 5 minutes).
- Add wine and deglaze the pan using a wooden spatula.
- Stir in thyme and salt.
- Return chicken back to the pan, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer (covered) for 30 minutes.
- Remove chicken again and set aside on a plate. (This step just simplifies the next step, you can omit it.)
- Stir in cream.
- In a small jar, add corn starch and 2 tbsp cold water. Place lid on the jar and shake vigorously to ensure a homogeneous mixture. Add corn starch mixture to the casserole and mix well. Alternatively, you may use any other method of your choice for thickening the sauce.
- Add pepper to taste (more can be added at the end).
- Return chicken back to casserole along with carrots, asparagus and peas and allow to simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. The sauce should thicken and the carrots should be al dente.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with additional thyme if you wish.
- Serve with freshly baked bread.