|Coq Au Vin Is An Elegant Dinner Idea|
During the holiday season, I often find myself looking for dinner ideas that are elegant, healthy and easy to make, without much fuss. One classic French dish that I love is Coq Au Vin, chicken braised in wine, onions, mushrooms and bacon. Although not difficult, the traditional preparation of Coq Au Vin uses butter and bacon, and takes a bit of time as the onion and mushroom garnishes are cooked separately.
I found a quick and easy Coq Au Vin recipe, lightened it up a bit, and then added deeper flavors to achieve the richness of the traditional dish. Then, I put together an elegant, healthy, and easy dinner menu to go with Coq Au Vin. Served with Assorted Tartine, Creamy Mashed potatoes, Roasted Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes, Sugar-and Spice Roasted Winter Squash, and ending with Pomegranate Poached Pears, Coq Au Vin would make an impressive dinner for guests over the holidays.
An Elegant Healthy Dinner Menu:
- Assorted Tartine
- Quick Coq Au Vin
- Roasted Broccoli and Cherry Tomatoes
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes
- Sugar-and-Spice Roasted Squash
- Pomegranate Poached Pears
Here are the dinner recipes for this menu. Coq Au Vin and Pomegranate Poached Pears can be made a few days in advance, and the broccoli and squash can be cut-up ahead of time. The broccoli can be put into the oven during the last 15 minutes before the roasted squash is done (it will only take a few more minutes before the broccoli is done).
Quick Coq Au Vin
Adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2010. Traditionally, chicken on the bone is used, and Coq Au Vin is served with braised onions and sautéed mushrooms. In this recipe, using boneless chicken breasts and cooking the shallots and mushrooms directly in the braising liquid saves time. I substituted organic, uncured turkey bacon (no antibiotics, nitrites, nitrates, or saturated fat) for pork bacon, so the dish had a nice smoky flavor without the fat. For deeper flavor, I browned the chicken well, and then braised it in the mushroom wine sauce, adding thyme and tomato paste, which are traditionally used in Coq Au Vin.
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
4 slices turkey bacon, uncured, without nitrates
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
8 shallots, peeled, halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 ½ cups dry red wine
1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
½ bunch fresh thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, divided
4 teaspoons flour
Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.
Saute bacon in large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
Add olive oil to pan, place chicken pieces in a single layer. Saute until nicely browned on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side; transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
|Season generously with salt and pepper and brown well for deeper flavor|
Add mushrooms, shallots and garlic to skillet; sauté until brown, about 4 minutes.
|Saute Shallots and Mushrooms Until Nicely Browned|
Add wine, 1 ¼ cups broth, bacon, thyme, tomato paste and 1 tablespoon parsley. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add chicken pieces, bring to a simmer, then lower heat and cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix four with ¼ cup broth, stirring until smooth. Add flour mixture to sauce. Cook until sauce thickens, 3-4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken on platter; spoon sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.
Roasted Broccoli with Cherry Tomatoes
Roasting vegetables brings out their sweetness, even in stronger tasting vegetables like broccoli. I’ve also made this dish using half broccoli and half cauliflower. Herbes de Provence complements the tomatoes nicely. Feel free to substitute your favorite herb mix (Italian herbs, Fines Herbes, or Greek seasoning would all be nice).
6 cups broccoli florets
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 shallots, chopped
6 cloves garlic cloves, smashed
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, toss broccoli, tomatoes, shallots, garlic, olive oil, Herbes de Provence, salt and pepper until evenly coated with oil and spices.
Spread vegetables in a single layer onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, then toss vegetables around. Roast 10 more minutes, until just tender, but still with some crunch.
Sugar-and-Spice Roasted Winter Squash
Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine, November 2010. I reduced the amount of coconut milk in half (and used light coconut milk) and substituted maple syrup for the brown sugar (a refined sugar) called for in the original recipe.
1 cup light unsweetened coconut milk
¼ cup maple syrup
8 garlic cloves
One 1 ½” piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground cardamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
One 2-pound butternut or kabocha squash
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare squash: Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds, cut off peel and cut squash into 2 inch pieces (see my previous post on How to Prepare Winter Squash for more detailed instructions).
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the coconut milk, maple syrup, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, nutmeg and salt.
Add the squash and toss well to coat thoroughly. Pour into a large roasting pan, cover with foil, and bake for 45 minutes, until squash is almost tender.
|Kabocha Squash Ready For The Oven|
Increase oven to 425 degrees. Uncover the pan. Turn the squash pieces over and season with salt. Roast on the top shelf for 15 minutes.
Increase the oven to 450 degrees and roast for about 15 minutes, until the squash is richly glazed.
Creamy Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
These mashed potatoes are really nice and creamy, and I find the chicken broth adds some nice flavor.
8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
salt and pepper, to taste
Place potatoes in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Drain well and place potatoes in a mixing bowl with chicken broth and buttermilk. Beat until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
What’s your favorite holiday dinner menu?
Assorted Tartine, Jeanette’s Healthy Living