Simple Country French Cooking Class – Part II

I promised you Coq Au Vin and Simple Lemon Soufflés and then I disappeared for 5 days. I’m not going to lie… Dan being on a diet has really messed with my routine. I like to do most of my cooking on the weekends, with plenty of portion controlled options for mid week, and that hasn’t been happening. It seems like I’m at the store every couple of days buying more meat and veggies, but I’m not making anything new. We are eating dinner around 6:30, fitting in double workouts and I’m exhausted by the time my head hits the pillow. We have another 5 weeks of this schedule and then my junk food junkie husband will be back to 7:30 p.m. “fend for yourself” dinners of cereal or frozen pizzas.

Enough of that, back to the cooking class and coq au vin. Borrowed from my class handout, (which pretty much copied Wikipedia’s definition)  “Coq au vin is a French braise of chicken cooked with wine and mushrooms. While the wine is typically Burgundy wine, many regions of France have variants of coq au vin using local wines. Various legends trace coq au vin to ancient Gaul and Julius Caesar, but the recipe was not documented until the early 20th century;  it is generally accepted that it existed as a rustic dish long before that. A somewhat similar recipe, poulet au vin blanc, appeared in an 1864 cookbook.

Not the most appealing coq au vin photo… but I promise you, it tasted really good!

The Ingredients:
2 lbs. boneless, skinless, chicken thighs – trim off excess fat and connective tissue. We used Mary’s Organic
1/2 Cup Flour – for dredging
4 Tablespoons Canola Oil – for browning
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/4 Cup Shallots – minced
2 Cups Sliced Mushrooms
1 Tablespoon Thyme – fresh
2 Cups Dry White Wine
2 Cups Pearl Onions – fresh
1/2 Cup Cream
Dash of Freshly Ground Nutmeg
Sea Salt and Pepper to Taste
Buttered Egg Noodles – for serving

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in flour. Place the oil in a preheated sauté pan, and add chicken thighs. Brown nicely on both sides. Remove and set aside.

Add the butter to the pan and sauté the shallots for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and thyme and sauté an additional minute. Add in the wine and deglaze the pan. Return the chicken back to the pan along with the pearl onions. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until very tender.

When tender, add in cream and nutmeg and stir to combine and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve over buttered noodles.

We then moved on to the Simple Lemon Soufflés –the entire soufflé process stressed Chef Terese out to the max. Probably the reason I have never attempted to make soufflés at home. That my friends is going to change – these lemon soufflés were screamin’ good!

The Ingredients:
3/4 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Whole Milk
3/4 Cup Sugar
3 1/2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
3 Large Egg Yolks
5 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
5 Large Egg Whites


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat six 3/4-cup soufflé dishes with butter and sugar. Bring milk to a simmer in medium saucepan over medium heat.

Whisk 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and yolks in bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in hot milk.

Return mixture to saucepan; bring to simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Whisk in lemon juice and zest. Cool.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Continue beating until stiff, but not dry.

Fold 1/4 of egg whites into lemon mixture. Fold in remaining whites. (A GIANT folding spatula is key)

Spoon mixture into prepared dishes, dividing equally. Bake until puffed and brown on top, about 18 minutes. Serve immediately with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Chef Terese skipped the powdered sugar dusting – I think she was just so happy they all turned out after one of the assistants took them out of the oven during the baking process to ask her if she thought they were done yet. I thought she was going to scream, it was pretty funny. I absolutely love lemon anything and these did not disapoint. I was bummed that we had mini portions, I would have loved to eat more.

Have you ever tried baking a soufflé?

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    • Tina on March 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Have not tried baking a souffle but these have my mouth watering! yum…

    • Kristen on March 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    OMG! The Coq au Vin was heavenly and the souffles were sinful!!! 🙂

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