Coq au vin is a classic of French cuisine that I love. It was the first Julia Child recipe I ever made, following the instructions in The French Chef cookbook based on the original black-and-white television show that began in the early 1960s.
While I enjoy making the more elaborate preparation described in the cookbooks, I also developed a simpler, quicker version using boneless chicken breasts that I cooked for our regular weeknight family meals. This salad is based on this “quick” coq au vin.
Coq au vin salad
1 chicken breast
1 or 1–1/2 strips of bacon
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup beef broth
1/2 cup pearl onions, thawed if using frozen
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon thyme
fresh ground pepper
1 to 1–1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
tomatoes (I used min-heirloom tomatoes, which accounts for the various colors)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons of the coq au vin liquid
Cut the bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. Cook until crisp. Remove from pan.
Put the chicken breast into the pan with the bacon fat. Over fairly high heat, brown each side. Turn down the heat and add the wine, beef broth, bacon, onions, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme, and some fresh ground pepper. Stir together, cover, and simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes.
Add the mushrooms. (You may have to put the chicken breast on top so all the mushrooms can be immersed in the liquid. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until the mushrooms are just cooked.
Arrange the lettuce and tomatoes on the plate. Remove the chicken breast from the pan and cut into bite-sized pieces. Using a slotted spoon, take the onions, mushrooms, and bacon pieces from the pan and distribute over the salad. Put the chicken pieces back in the pan so they are covered with more of the sauce and then place in the middle of the salad.
Whisk, or shake in a small jar the oil, vinegar, and liquid from cooking the coq au vin. Spoon the dressing over the salad.