Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Une Nuit à Paris

In Part Deux of our 12 Dates in 12 Months schtick, Donut and I "went" to Paris for Valentine's Day. Well, I knew we were going for Valentine's Day. Donut, in his Czechy practicality, doesn't appreciate VDay like us Americans, so for him this was just Thursday. With dinner. And a theme.

I picked up some macaroons from Paul for dessert as I feared French pastries were a bit beyond my means.

However, this totally inspired me to flip through my Art of French Baking cookbook that Tandrew got me for a Christmas pressie last year, and it doesn't look so bad. You can expect a horrible picture of those attempts at some point in the future.

We drank some French wine, listened to some French music, watched Les Mis, and enjoyed a big plate of Crock Pot Coq au Vin. I did a bit of digging around online for a recipe, got a feel for the basics (Rooster?! Where am I going to find a rooster?! Will they have one at Tesco?!) then just kind of put together what I thought would taste best, and this came out pretty tasty.

Horrible Photo Skills, at it again.

2 big carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
2 celery sticks, cut into chunks
10 oz. of shallots, peeled
1/4 lb. of thick cut bacon (English or Canadian, my slab was approximately 1" thick), cut into 1/4" slices
4 whole chicken legs (you could be authentic and try for rooster, but I don't know what that is in Czech)
2 dried bay leaves
Sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup tomato puree
1/2 bottle of red wine (Merlot, Cab Sauv, etc.)
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 lb. mushrooms, cut into slices

  1. Throw carrots, celery and shallots in your Crock Pot and add some S&P. 
  2. Fry your bacon (slowly!) in a big pan so that you get most of the grease out. Pull out the bacon bits and set aside (and maybe snack on one or two), but leave the fat in the pan. 
  3. Meanwhile, put some flour and S&P in a bowl or a ziplock bag (I used a bowl simply because ziplocks do not exist here except in boxes specifically marked for airline travel...) and coat your chicken legs. Put the chicken in the pan with the fat and brown the outsides. You don't need to cook all the way through as they'll be sitting in a bath of goodness for a lonnnnnng time in the Crock Pot anyway. Put them on top of your veggies. Stick your bacon and herbs on top.
  4. Turn the heat down on your pan and add the garlic, tomato puree, and wine. Taste test wine liberally to ensure top quality. Boil for a minute, then add your stock and boil again. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Pour this on top of everything in the Crock Pot.
  5. Set your Crock Pot to low and cook for 5.5/6 hours. Enjoy delicious scents wafting through your abode for the rest of the day. 
  6. When you're ready to eat, saute your mushrooms. Plate your coq au vin and top with mushrooms, and serve with a big slice of bagette to sop up all the yummy juices. 
By the time the meal was done in the Crock Pot, the meat was literally sliding off the bones. It was total comfort food, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I ate the leftovers for breakfast. This French cooking, it's not so tough. 

Bon appétit!


  1. Laura, I am going to have to try to make this!
    Here is a hint for the photos. don't use a flash, raise your ISO to 800 not higher than that or it will be grainy and have a light on near your food. The flash on your camera will just bounce off the plate. Or have someone hold a light over the food (flashlight) with a white cloth over the end to diffuse it and then take the picture. Let me know if this works!

    1. thanks for the tips! i definitely need to devote some time to getting better acquainted with my camera... or wait until I can steal Donut's on a daily basis, as his is much, much better (read: not a bargain discount from five years ago and does not have sand/dirt/something stuck in the lens)! hopefully you'll be able to see how it goes when things look better! :)

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