Simply put, savory coq au vin (chicken with wine) and airy yet rich cream puffs with chocolate sauce are classic French dishes that are sure to please many a dinner guest. For a sophisticated French menu, follow these sensory-pleasing authentic recipes.
We use a short cut for the coq au vin that’s still well within authentic measures taken to cut down on time without cutting on flavor – rotisserie chicken. For the cream puffs, chocolate sauce is optional but if you skip it you’re really missing out.
Pair this menu with a sauvignon blanc for the main and a dessert coffee for the sweet ending.
Menu: Coq au vin and choux à la crème au chocolat
Coq au Vin
1 cooked rotisserie chicken, cut in 8 pieces
1 cup chicken broth
1.5 tablespoons tomato paste
1.5 cups baby carrots
5 slices of thick bacon, cut into strips
10 ounces of button mushrooms
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon rosemary
2 teaspoons thyme
2 tablespoons parsley
1 bag of frozen pearl onions, thawed
1 cup dry white wine
1. Boil carrots covered over medium heat for 5-6 minutes until slightly tender. Drain. Mix broth and tomato paste in a bowl and set aside.
2. In a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to a paper towel but leave drippings. Cook mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, thyme and one tablespoon of parsley in drippings over medium-high heat for about 6-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Add onions and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.
3. Increase heat to high and de-glaze pot by adding the wine and scraping up brown bits from pot bottom. When wine is boiling, add broth and tomato paste mixture and stir well. Add chicken pieces and carrots and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer on medium low for 5 minutes, turning chicken once or twice.
4. Crumble the crisped bacon. Transfer coq au vin to a serving platter and sprinkle with bacon and the remaining parsley.
Serve with creamed potatoes or light pasta and light greens.
Cream puffs with chocolate sauce
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup water
4 large eggs
4 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 cup light cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 quart vanilla ice cream
1. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray and lightly flour it.
2. Heat water, butter and salt on medium heat in a saucepan until boiling and butter melts completely. Remove from heat and stir in all flour vigorously until mixture balls up and come away from the side of the pan.
3. Beat in eggs one at a time until batter becomes smooth and satin-like. Drop batter into 10 large mounds, 1/4 cup each, about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Moisten fingertips with water and smooth tops of mounds until rounded.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until puffs are golden brown. Remove from oven and poke a hole in one side of each puff in order to release steam. Turn the oven off but replace the puffs inside and let stand for about 10 minutes to dry slightly. Remove and allow to cool.
6. Horizontally slice each puff in half and remove any moist dough then discard it.
7. Chop dark chocolate coursely. Heat light cream and sugar in a saucepan on medium high heat until just boiling, then remove from heat. Add chocolate and let stand for one minute so that it begins to melt, then whisk until smooth.
8. For serving: nestle 1 scoop of ice cream in the base of each cream puff then replace puff top. Drizzle with warm chocolate sauce and serve.
Secret tip: Keep the biggest one for yourself.