In which the world of culinary hedonism is explored with a cup and a half of curiosity, a heaping tablespoon of passion and a dash of clumsiness.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Post #105 ~ Crock pot "coq au vin"

I put the title in somewhat ironic quotes, because I fear Julia Child would have a few things to say about my accidental rendition of this dish.

My story goes like this:

Back in Singapore for another semester, I have a freezer full of chicken and a crock pot at the ready. I love my crock pot. I invested $30 and a strenuous train ride back to my apartment to enable me to enjoy slow cooked "fix-and-forget" meals. I will do a separate post on the wonders of freezer meals, but for now, let us return to our story.

I had been madly pinning recipes over the summer to try when I returned to the Lion City, one of which is this one. I had read in the comments section that this recipe could also be done in a crock pot, and seeing as I possess both a crock pot and a penchant for garlic, I was in like Flynn.

This morning I woke up to an out-of-whack lower back. I'm not sure what I did yesterday (well, I'm pretty sure it entailed carrying heavy stuff - when I return to the States and become a car owner again, I will appreciate the convenience of a trunk in a whole new way!) but it was definitely looking like one of those bottle-of-advil-and-a-heat-pack kind of days. But I still wanted to make a good dinner. So I remembered this recipe, thawed out two large chicken breasts and got out the garlic.

And completely chickened out.

No, that's not a pun.

I had peeled six cloves, and by now my hands and my apartment are smelling intensely like garlic. Just how pungent would this dish be? What would happen if I cooked it for six hours in my small apartment? Would I have any friends left?

So I decided to wimp out on the garlic and substituted some other things instead. So into the bottom of the crock pot went:

  • 1 tbs EVOO to coat the pot
  • 1 medium sized onion, julienned
  • 6 peeled but whole cloves of garlic
  • 2 small tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 green apple, sliced (hey, I had a bunch on hand)
  • 1 sprig each rosemary, thyme, oregano

On top of all of this I plopped the chicken. I put a bit more EVOO over the chicken and sprinkled some coarse-ground salt over it. Now for some chicken broth. I have some broth in my fridge from a few days ago - one sec...

OH, no. Never mind. Equatorial climate + a jetlagged interpretation of "a few days" have not been kind to this opened carton of broth.

"What other liquid is within reach?" I think, as I hunch over my counter, a heating pad upstairs calling my name.

Well, that's a simple answer, if you know me well enough: Wine.

I had about 2/3 of a glass of a red table wine left that was a little too dried out for drinking, but not bad at all for cooking. Into the pot it went. 

I set it on low to cook for 5-6 hours. About half-way through, I stirred things around and added 3 chicken bouillon cubes. It smelled AMAZING.

I steamed and buttered some green beans to go with it and uncorked a new bottle of a French red. The thing that bugs me about crock pot meals is that as good as they smell and taste, they just don't photograph that well. So you'll forgive the above image if it doesn't look as pretty as other dishes do. Take my word for it - it makes up in taste for what it lacks in appearance!

And the garlic cloves?

Well, my friends, when I make it again for a crock-pot swap I've got arranged with my colleague and friend who also lives in this building, I'm thinking of the following adjustments: Less onion and more garlic.

Yep, more garlic.

The garlic cloves turn out rich, buttery and smooth. I actually spread two of them over the chicken breast I ate and it was FABulous. Next time I might get a piece of crusty bread and spread the rest of the garlic over that. It's not pungent or bitter at all - just sweet and nutty and mellow and oh-so-creamy!

So, there's something to be said for both Pinterest and accidentally cooking with wine instead of broth: 1.) Garlic is good and 2.) A bit of wine never hurt anyone (or anybird!).

Yours in the love of good food and wine,

The blogger is not an experienced chef. She takes no responsibility for the quality of the meals prepared while following her advice. Use your own judgment regarding cooking times and proper food handling.