Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cookfire Day Two : Roast Beast and Coq au Vin

We had two sorts of meat this weekend--roast beef and coq au vin, a stewed chicken. Contrary to how they might sound, the roast is actually rather easy. Just as one does a roast in an oven, you set the thing up, then just let it cook. Skewering it on the spit is a bit tricky, and sometimes a two person job (though taking out some aggression on a hunk of meat can be worthwhile if the day has been a bit rough). Then I usually give it a few turns close to the fire, to sear the outside, then put it on a higher notch to slow-roast. All your heat control with a fire is mainly how far you place your cooking from the fire--so a quick sear and a slow roast is acheived by moving the roast first next to the fire, then further away. My favorite spices are slivers of garlic stuffed into slits in the meat, then salt, pepper, and rosemary lightly coated over the whole thing.

Easier to share is the recipe for coq au vin. It wasn't a 100% traditional coq au vin, as I just did stewed chicken instead of adding veggies, and left the sauce thin instead of making gravy. Here's the good for the fire, good for the modern kitchen recipe:

You need:

Chicken (I just used drumsticks)

Oil for cooking

Salt and Pepper

Red Wine

Vegetable Stock (nice, rich brown stuff)

First, season the chicken with salt and pepper. You can add more spices to taste if you like, but basic salt and pepper did the trick. Then heat the oil in a cast-iron pot (or an ordinary pot on the stovetop) and brown the chicken. Once the chicken is browned, add equal parts stock and wine to quite nearly cover the chicken (for about a dozen drumsticks in a larger pot, this worked out to around 1 1/2-2 cups each). Then just let it cook until the meat is falling off the bone. This was over the fire, so exact timing is hard to tell--but less than an hour.

It sounds basic. But when someone tried the chicken, hovering over the pot, he said with a full mouth, "This is like heaven!" and another friend asked, "What did you do to the chicken?". Be warned--the red wine mayimpart a purply color to the very top layer of the meat. It's ok. It's cooked. And it doesn't taste like sour wine.

Here's a similar modern recipe. Image taken from that recipe--we were in such a flurry to finish and eat that I didn't take any photos (bad me!).


Caroline Starr Rose said...

Yum. I remember making coq au vin in home ec. I can assure you it was not as tasty as yours sounds. ;)

mesmered said...

Oh my gosh! And I've just placed a rack of lamb and roast vegetables in the electric oven and shall retire to the couch to keep writing. What an amazing person you are, Hyaline Prosaic! Anything but prosaic . . .

Rowenna said...

Hehe--Caroline, I can imagine that. My home ec class managed to turn out yucky banana bread--I didn't know it was possible.

Mesmered--sounds lovely! Yum...lamb...