Cooking with Wine - National Chicken Month

Not Your Grandpappy’s Old Red Rooster

People used to stew the old red rooster or the tough old hens past their laying days for hours in wine to make them tender enough to eat. Our young, tender, plump birds these days cook quickly and there are brands of organic, hormone and antibiotic free, non-gmo, free range chickens out there just as flavorful as home grown farm birds. 

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Here are three classic methods for cooking chicken with wine. 1. Braising or Stewing, which tenderizes and flavors while cooking the chicken, 2. Deglazing, which uses the sauté pan scrapings to flavor a wine sauce, and, 3. Marinating, which tenderizes and flavors the meat before cooking.

And here are classic chicken recipes using those methods—fast and yummy, versions--that celebrate birds and wine!

1. Braising or Stewing in Wine

Coq au Vin
Serves 6

Coq au Vin is French for “rooster in wine” and it is made all over France, each version featuring the wine of the region. For example in cold climates like Alsace, the dish is made with Riesling, whereas in warmer Burgundy, it is made with the red wine of the region, Pinot Noir. But the method is the same and the ingredients are about the same. Start with a cut up chicken. And go for Julia Child’s classic recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C slab bacon diced

  • 2 TBS olive oil

  • 4 lbs. pounds chicken legs and/or thighs, skin on, rinsed and thoroughly dried

  • 1/4 cup brandy or Cognac

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme

  • 20 pearl onions, peeled

  • 3 TBS all-purpose flour

  • 2 C red wine, Pinot Noir or Cotes-du-Rhone (avoid oaky wines!)

  • 2 C low sodium chicken stock homemade is best!

  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed or minced

  • 1 heaping TBS tomato paste

  • 3/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, trimmed, wiped free of dirt, and quartered

Directions

  1. Toss diced bacon in a heavy-bottomed casserole or pot with 2 TBS olive oil over medium or medium-high until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer bacon to a plate, leaving drippings in the pot.

  2. Add chicken, being careful not to crowd the pieces and cook, turning frequently, until browned on all sides. (If working in batches, return all the chicken to the pot.) Carefully pour  Cognac or brandy over chicken.

  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf and thyme, then tuck onions around chicken. Cover pot and let chicken simmer gently, turning pieces once, for about 10 minutes.

  4. Uncover pot, sprinkle flour over everything, and turn chicken and onions so flour is absorbed by sauce.  Cover and cook, turning once or twice, for 4 more minutes.

  5. Stir in wine and enough stock to almost cover the chicken. Add bacon, garlic, and tomato paste to the pot, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Transfer chicken pieces to a plate when they’re done. If onions are not quite tender, continue cooking them in sauce, then return chicken to pot, add mushrooms, and simmer 5 minutes. Sauce should lightly coat chicken. Taste sauce and correct the seasoning accordingly.

  6. Serve coq au vin immediately or let it cool, cover, and refrigerate.. To reheat, skim any fat on surface of stew, and place pot of coq au vin over medium-low heat. Stew is usually even better the second day. Before serving, sprinkle generously with minced fresh parsley (Be careful to remove bay leaves before serving!)

PERFECT  PAIRING WITH COQ AU VIN:

This is a traditional dish of Burgundy, so an easy wine pairing choice is Pinot Noir, the grape of French red Burgundies. Try it with MacMurray Central Coast Pinot Noir, with its lovely cherry fruit, earthiness, and food worthy acidity. Or, if you used a Cotes-du-Rhone Red as your cooking wine, pair the Coq au Vin with a lighter-bodied Grenache blend from the Rhone region. Try the delicious new Le Clarion des Anges Costieres de Nimes.

2. Deglazing With Wine

Chicken Piccata
Serves 4 to 6

Easy Chicken Piccata takes 20 minutes to make. Chicken breast cutlets, are dredged in flour, browned, served with sauce of butter, lemon juice, capers, stock and wine. Serve with a salad of baby spinach, thin sliced purple onions, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Ingredients

  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 ½ lbs total), or 4-8 chicken cutlets

  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 3 TBS grated Parmesan cheese

  • 4 TBS olive oil

  • 4 TBS butter

  • 3/4 C dry white wine or dry white vermouth

  • ½  C low salt chicken broth

  • 2 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice

  • 3 TBS brined capers, rinsed

  • 2 TBS fresh chopped parsley

Directions:

  1. To make chicken cutlets, slice chicken breast halves horizontally, butterflying them open. If breast pieces you are working with are large, you may want to cut them each into two pieces. If pieces are still thick after butterflying, put them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with meat mallet or a rolling pin to 1/4-inch thickness.

  2. Dredge cutlets in seasoned flour with Parmesan: Mix together flour, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Rinse chicken pieces in water and pat dry. Dredge in flour mixture, until well coated.

  3. Heat olive oil and 2 TBS of butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add half of  chicken pieces, without crowding. Brown well on each side, about 3 min. per side. Remove from pan and place on a plate.

  4. Cook remaining breasts. Place breasts on a rack over a roasting pan and keep warm in a 225°F oven while making sauce.

  5. Add wine, lemon juice, capers, to skillet with chicken drippings and crusty pieces. Over medium heat, simmer, stirring to scrape up browned bits until reduced by half.  Whisk in the remaining 2 TBS butter. Plate chicken and serve with sauce poured over the chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.

PERFECT PAIRING WITH CHICKEN PICCATA:

A slightly buttery, slightly oaky Chardonnay will bring out the richness of the dish. Try it with La Crema Chardonnay. Or, if you are feeling wine adventurous, try a pairing the piccata with a lemony Pinot Grigio for Italy, like the bright, fresh delicious Cantini Colli Euganei Pinot Grigio.

Classic Chicken Marsala
Serves 4 to 6

Also a super-fast, easy to prepare chicken dinner meal, perfect for a week night. It is made by deglazing the pan with dry Marsala and adding cream to make the rich, garlicky Marsala sauce. Serve the sauced chicken over angel hair pasta over cauliflower rice, or with a simple Caesar salad.

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 pound total), or 4-8 chicken cutlets

  • 3/4 C all-purpose flour,

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 TBS olive oil

  • 4 TBS unsalted butter

  • ½ lb. cremini mushrooms, quartered

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3/4 C dry Marsala wine

  • 1/4 C low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1/4 C heavy cream

  • ¼ C minced fresh parsley

Directions:

  1. To make chicken cutlets, slice the chicken breast halves horizontally, butterflying them open. If the breast pieces you are working with are large, you may want to cut them each into two pieces. If the pieces are still thick after butterflying, put them between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound them with meat mallet or a rolling pin to 1/4-inch thickness.

  2. Dredge cutlets: Mix together the flour, salt, and pepper. Rinse the chicken pieces in water and pat dry. Dredge in the flour mixture, until well coated.

  3. Heat olive oil and 2 TBS of butter in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add half of the chicken pieces, without crowding. Brown well on each side, about 3 min. per side. Remove from the pan and place on a plate.

  4. Cook remaining breasts. Place breasts on a rack over a roasting pan and keep warm in a 225°F oven while making sauce.

  5. Brown the mushrooms in same the pan. Then add the garlic toward the end of cooking the mushrooms.

  6. Add Marsala wine and chicken broth to pan. Simmer, stirring to scrape up browned bits until reduced by half. Whisk in remaining butter.

  7. When pan sauce is simmering, add whipping cream and return chicken to pan to heat. Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over chicken. Serve chicken and sauce over angel hair pasta and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

PERFECT PAIRING WITH CHICKEN MARSALA:

The rich sauce needs a red with juicy freshness and no tannins, like a Beaujolais, or for the wine adventurer, Chateau Grand Traverse Gamay, one of Michigan’s most exciting wines.

Marinating in Wine

Red Wine Marinated Chicken
Serve 2-4

Marinating infuses the food with flavor

Ingredients:

  • 1 C Red wine

  • 1 C Red wine vinegar

  • 1 C Low sodium soy sauce

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 large shallot diced

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • A chicken cut in half or spatchcocked

Ingredients For Serving Sauce:

  • ½ C Red wine

  • ½ C Red wine vinegar

  • ½ C Low sodium soy sauce

  • 1 C thin sliced green onions

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in a 1 gallon ziplock bag and pour marinade over it, making sure all of chicken is covered. Refrigerate at least 24 hrs.

  2. Char grill chicken, turning and basting with marinade from ziplock bag until done.

  3. Meanwhile, make serving sauce by heating wine, vinegar and soy sauce with green onions until it just starts to boil. Remove from heat and add butter. Serve warm sauce with grilled chicken.

PERFECT PAIRING WITH CHAR GRILLED CHICKEN

The intense flavors of this marinated chicken and its yummy sauce calls for a hearty red. Serve it with a Zinfandel, like Montevina Amador County Zinfandel.Or try a new smooth, full-bodied red blend from Portugal, like Spice and Silk Red Blend.


Roz Mayberry

About Roz: During her distinguished career, Roz has served a term as the Retail Representative on the MDA's Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and Continues to serve on their Promotion & Education and Competition Committees. In addition, she has served as a judge in various national and international wine competitions.

Working with D&W's wine stewards and SpartanNash's vendor partners, Roz tirelessly explores the vast world of wine, discovering the finest wines for every budget and every taste. And she loves to discuss food and wine with customers and colleagues. As a lifelong foodie, there is nothing else she'd rather be doing.