I’ve been taking inspiration from Julia Child’s coq au vin for ages – although I never quite follow the recipe. I’m always missing an ingredient, trying to save some time, so on and so forth. But, it still always turns out really well. Here is my homey take on a legend.
1/2 lb bacon (about 8 slices), cut up into small pieces (if you do not wish to use bacon, just substitute about 2-3 tbs butter)
2 tbs butter as needed
3-4 lbs dark meat chicken (I use a combination of bone in thighs and drumsticks)
1/4 cup brandy for flaming (optional)
2 medium onions (or 1lb peeled pearl onions) cut into 1 inch pieces
3-4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces (optional)
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups red wine
1/2 tsp dried or fresh thyme (1/4 tsp if powdered)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 tbs tomato paste
1 lb mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup flour
Salt and pepper
TO SERVE: This is delicious served over mashed potatoes or with baguettes. I use mashed potato flakes for the potatoes and it’s quick and yummy.
6-7 qt dutch oven or large pot WITH TIGHT FITTING LID (lid is very important)
cutting board and knife
large mixing bowls
long reach lighter
Render the fat out of the bacon. If you are not using bacon, substitute 2-3 tbs butter until the bottom of the pan is fully covered. Once the bacon is browned, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and leave the drippings in the pan.
If there is not enough oil in the pan, add butter. Using tongs, lay the chicken skin side down. Lightly salt and pepper, and sprinkle a little thyme, some garlic powder. Flip after about 2 minutes. The skin should be golden brown. Be careful when flipping not to strip the skin off the chicken.
Do the same on the other side. Salt, pepper, a little thyme, some garlic powder.
You may need to work in batches, to avoid overcrowding.
When all the chicken is golden, you are ready for your next step.
Get your LID ready!
Optional step – Pour the brandy into the pot. Using a long reach lighter, light the chicken on fire. Let flame for a minute or 2.
To put out the flames, COVER the pan with the LID.
Give it a minute or two to make sure the flame is out. Whisk together the flour, chicken stock, wine, and tomato paste.
Uncover the pot, and add cooked bacon, onions, carrots, the flour mixture, and a bay leaf. Mix gently.
Cover the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces if they are done (juices run clear).
The sauce should be thick enough to viscously coat a spoon. Boil down to thicken or add water as necessary.
Add mushrooms to the sauce and cook on medium for another 10 minutes.
I’m pretty sure they’re rib tips anyway. You know the cut with the cartilage / soft bones that you can eat? Love it in soup (check out my recipe https://maddywoods.com/2020/10/20/recipe-pork-rib-vegetable-soup/), grilled in the pan, whatever. So versatile and rich in flavor. If you can’t get Chinese cauliflower, regular cauliflower works well too! Oh right. If you’re cooking them both at the same time, start the cauliflower first. Even if it finishes first, it retains the heat really well because of its water content, whereas the meat will cool down fast. The cauliflower will take around 15-20 minutes and the meat will take 10. I listed the pork first because it’s the main dish.
WARNING: The pork pan will be hard to clean due to the sugar content of the marinade. I had to soak it and use a wooden spatula for scraping.
2 lbs pork rib tips
4 tbs low sodium soy sauce
2 tbs honey
3 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs onion powder
2 tbs canola oil
Large Chinese cauliflower
2 tbs canola oil
3 tbs fish sauce
1/2 – 1 cup water
3 stalks green onion (white and green parts separated)
1 tsp ginger paste (or 1/2 inch ginger, sliced in half)
1 tsp garlic paste (or 1 clove garlic)
2-3 Serrano peppers (optional)
10″ cast iron pan
Gallon freezer bag OR bowl for marinating
Spoon for mixing
Large wok or all purpose pan
Cutting board and knife
Mix all ingredients in a bag or a bowl and marinade between 4 and 24 hours. Turn / mix the pork halfway through the marinating process. If you don’t have time to marinade, you can go ahead and cook it right away, it will still be good, just not AS good.
Heat pan on medium until touching the meat to it creates a sizzling noise.
Place all the pork in the pan. Cover with a lid.
5 minutes covered, flip, 5 more minutes covered. DONE.
Garnish with the green parts of the green onion if desired.
Slice and dice the green onion (separating the green parts and the white parts), Serrano peppers, and cauliflower. If using fresh ginger and garlic, cut a 1/2 inch piece of ginger in half and cut the garlic clove in half as well.
Combine canola oil, Serrano peppers, white parts of green onion in pan. If using fresh ginger and garlic, add them now. If using paste, wait until the oil is sizzling and fragrant and stir it in. There may be some splattering. But, if you add the paste too early, it will burn in the time it takes the other ingredients to flavor the oil.
Add the cauliflower, fish sauce, and 1/2 cup water. Cover with lid.
Stir occasionally, and then cover when not stirring. If pan becomes dry, add more water.
Cook to desired texture, for me around 15 minutes after adding the cauliflower to the oil.
I love risotto. It’s thick, creamy, and luxurious. It goes well with any number of foods. Due to the labor intensive nature of it, I make it only very occasionally and like to pair it with something special.
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine (I use Pinot Grigio)
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbs butter
2-3 tbs olive oil
4-6 cups stock (I prefer chicken)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
5qt+ stock pot
Spatula for stirring
Ladle and bowl for stock
Board and knife
Dice onions and put aside. Dice garlic.
Melt butter in the pot. Add the onions and when they are soft, add the garlic.
Stir until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
Add rice and olive oil and make sure each grain is coated.
Add the wine and stir until absorbed.
Add stock, just enough to cover the rice by 1/4 inch, and stir until absorbed.
Repeat this process until the rice is tender and a pleasing texture. You may use more or less stock depending on this.
Stir in the parmesan cheese, let cool a little and serve.
I spent almost my entire life in the United States, so while I like Chinese food, I’m not particularly experienced with making it. After I developed an interest in cooking, I regretted not having taken advantage of my time at home. The following is a Chinese INSPIRED soup that I adapted from several other recipes (and what was hanging around in my kitchen). It’s good!
2 lb pork rib tips (I used a lot of meat in this, 1 lb will suffice)
2 very large or 3 medium carrots
1 medium onion
10 shiitake mushrooms
1 can sweet corn
3 cloves garlic (I used tubed)
1 inch ginger (I used tubed)
2 tbs canola oil (any neutral oil will do)
Salt to taste
Chinese vermicelli, if using
5.5 qt+ pot
Knife and board
Bowls and plates
Chop up the carrots (peel first) and onions into 1/2 inch pieces.
Peel the ginger with a spoon and slice into 4 large pieces. Dice the ginger.
Put dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. After 2-3 minutes, drain.
If using fresh ginger, add the ginger pieces to the hot oil until lightly browned, and then discard.
Sauté the onions in the oil until soft.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
If using tube ginger and garlic like I am, ignore #3 and #5. Add about 1 tbs of each to the onions once they are translucent.
Once it sizzles, quickly add in all the pork and stir to brown. You will not even come close to browning all the pieces, the goal is to get SOME caramelization on the meat.
Once you get bored of browning the meat, add the mushrooms, carrots, and about 7-8 cups of water to the pot.
Bring to a rolling boil, and then turn it down to low (not simmer, I was in a rush) for an hour.
Once the meat is done, stir in the canned corn.
If using Chinese vermicelli add to the pot for about 4 minutes, and then remove into your bowl.
Shrimp is amazing. It is low fat, high protein, and so delicious. Today I focus only on the mechanics of cooking shrimp. Side dishes are entirely up to you!
Shrimp – as much as you want, I use the 21-25 size, and for 2 people I usually use 16, which is a perfect fit for a 10 inch pan. Sometimes I peel and devein myself, but most of the time I don’t…
2 tbs butter (or olive oil, but butter is so good)
Salt to taste
Spices – Really, anything you are in the mood for. Most of the time I don’t use any because I love the pure flavor of shrimp. If you use spices, just mix them with the shrimp and oil and let sit a few minutes. DO NOT USE ANY ACIDS SUCH AS LEMON OR LIME.
Cast iron pan (skillet if you don’t have one)
Bowl and spatula for mixing spices (if using)
Prepare your side dishes first. The shrimp will be very quick.
Heat up the empty pan on medium. My stove takes about 4 minutes.
Add the butter. As soon as it melts, using your tongs (or hands), start laying the shrimp down on the pan as fast as you can.
Sprinkle some salt on the top.
Pay attention to the clock! After 2 minutes from the time you laid down your first shrimp, flip them individually with your tongs.
Sprinkle some salt on the top.
Cook 2 minutes total on the back side and immediately remove to a plate.
Comfort food – isn’t all food comfort food? But some dishes are just extra warm, and hearty, and calls to mind evenings spent around the table with family and friends. This potato pie is in the style of the Lancashire Hot Pot (I use ground meat instead of stew meat).
1 lb ground meat (beef or lamb)
2-3 tbs olive oil
3 ribs celery
2 tbs tomato paste
1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups vegetable or beef stock
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 large Yukon gold potatoes
Knife and board
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Dice onions, celery, and carrots. Slice the potatoes thinly. If you are using a thin skinned potato like a Yukon gold, you will not have to peel them. If you are using a Russet potato, peel first.
Brown the meat in the sauté pan, and then set aside.
Brown the onions, celery, and carrots in the meat juices. Stir in the tomato paste and thyme.
Add the stock, and bring to a boil.
Whisk together the cold water and flour and mix and mix and mix until the liquid has thickened and is boiling again.
Reduce to desired thickness and stir the meat back in.
Pour into the casserole pan.
Layer the potato on top of the meat mixture, overlapping the edges slightly.
Wait, what? Salami?? Why would you do such a thing? Well I’ll tell you why. I had a birthday party recently, and had almost an entire tray of salami left over. When cooking greens – bacon. When cooking pasta – pancetta, guanciale. So… why not? P.S. It’s delicious.
1 lb chicken breast
6 slices of Italian salami
3-4 large cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp each of dried oregano, thyme, rosemary (1 tbs each if fresh)
1 cup white wine (or chicken stock, but seriously, wine is better)
Yes well. But I didn’t have any Spanish chorizo on hand, and I really wanted some paella. Or in this case, “paella.” I don’t even know what this is. I liked it, I really did. It didn’t taste like the paella I had at a GREAT Spanish restaurant I went to recently, but it was really good. Honest. I doubled the recipe myself, but assuming normal humans aren’t inhaling carbs like a maniac, I cut everything in half and put it below.
1/2 lb Mexican Chorizo (the ground crumbly kind)
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion
1 bell pepper any color
1/2 tbs smoked paprika (important!)
3 cloves of garlic
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups Arborio rice (yes I know this is Italian I don’t know where to get Bomba rice)
1 lb seafood mix (you know the frozen stuff at the grocery with squid mussels and clams? If you can get it fresh even better!)
Salt to taste
A freaking large pot (or in your case, 5 qt+)
Something to stir with
Knife and cutting board
Bowls or plates
Put the heat on medium. My stove is good at a 4/7.
Brown the Chorizo until cooked all the way through. Put it aside in a bowl or plate.
Dice onion and bell pepper and add it to the pot (that has chorizo juices in it). Add 2 tbs olive oil while stirring.
Add salt to the pot to help the veggies sweat it out – don’t overdo it. The Chorizo is already pretty salty. Meanwhile, dice up your 3 cloves of garlic.
Add the garlic and 1/2 tbs paprika to the mix until it gets nice and fragrant. Keep stirring.
When it looks like it’s pretty dry, add the 1/2 cup of wine to deglaze.
Then add in the 4 cups chicken broth and can of diced tomatoes.
Dump in the 2 cups of rice. Mix.
Cover with a lid. Lower the heat to simmer, or in my case, “lo.” Ignore for 15 minutes.
If the liquid level looks soupy and not like the photo below, leave it uncovered and boil it down a bit.
When the liquid level is right, as in the texture you want to eat, mix the Chorizo back in.
Throw the seafood mix on top, and cover for about 10 minutes, still on “lo.”
A Denver steak is a cut of the beef chuck. Whaaaaat? The chuck may be a tough piece of meat, but the Denver steak is fairly tender, well marbled, and super flavorful. And to make things even better, it is an inexpensive cut of meat, running around $7 a pound. Compared to the popular New York strip, ribeye, T-bone, filet mignon, and so on, it does have slightly more chew, but with its great price and superb flavor profile, the Denver steak has definitely made it to our dinner table again and again.
1 lb Denver steak
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs canola oil (or other high heat oil)
Cast iron skillet (or fry pan)
Small baking sheet
Silicone (or pastry) brush
Place the steaks on a large plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste (that is a way of saying season to your personal preference, don’t actually taste your raw steak!). Flip the steak and do the same with the other side.
Using a brush, apply canola oil generously to the steak. Flip and repeat.
Meanwhile, place a baking sheet in your oven (I use a toaster oven for convenience) and preheat to 400.
Heat your pan on the stove top, a cast iron skillet if you have one, for 4 minutes on medium high. Only you know your stove, so this may need some adjustment. For me, that is a 5 setting out of 7. DO NOT APPLY OIL TO YOUR PAN! The oil is already on the steak, just let that pan get nice and hot.
Place the steaks one at a time in the pan. You can use your hands or a pair of tongs. If the pan is not sizzling loudly when you put down the first steak, simply pick it back up and wait another minute or so. A strong sizzle is essential.
When the pan is hot enough, sear the steaks 3 minutes on each side for a steak around 1 inch thick (2 minutes for a thinner one).
Using oven mitts, take out your preheated baking sheet from your oven. Using tongs, place the steaks on the sheet and bake for 6 minutes.
When 6 minutes are up, put the steaks on a plate, and cover with aluminum foil for 10 minutes. This allows the meat to rest and prevents all the juices from running out of it.
The steaks (adjusting for your pan and oven temperature) should be a nice medium to medium-rare and are READY TO EAT! Serve with your favorite sides or go straight up carnivore. I had mine with sauteed green beans and air fried sweet potatoes.