Best of Both Worlds

Ah, if only all of life’s little decisions were so easily resolved. When it came down to a choice between coq au vin or chicken-and-dumplings for dinner, I opted not to choose.  

After all, the French classic comfort food, chicken stewed in wine, is served with a starch—potatoes or noodles or rice. So why not with fluffy, all-American dumplings? And, I figured, traditional chicken-and-dumplings (and my guests) would not suffer one little bit from a healthy shot of wine. My only cause for pause was aesthetics: Would a red wine broth produce unpleasantly red (read: bloody) dumplings? Not willing to chance it—and with apologies to Julia—I went with white wine.  

Other variables included abandoning the mushrooms usually found in coq au vin for a mother lode of carrots and celery. I did not, however, cut back on the bacon or pearl onion content so essential to the French stew.  Some things are too perfect to mess with.

The dish was a hit with the crew, though I have to admit the dumplings were subpar. (That’s what I get for experimenting rather than using the tried and true, found in the recipe included in this post.) However, the broth, and the vegetables cooked in it, was sublime—rich, savory, with less of the tannic punch characteristic of a red wine coq au vin. And definitely slurp-worthy.   

We served the coq au vin avec dumplings with Elizabeth’s delicious arugula salad—and its lick-the-bowl salad dressing, emboldened by garlic, mustard and balsamic… a great compliment to the tangy stew.

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2 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds

  1. Kate- this looks really good. Ray has played with coq au vin, Emeril”s recipe.
    If I made this I would have him weeping and offering me money!!! This I shall try on the next cool day.

    1. Weeping AND money — that’s when you know you’ve hit it! Try Julia Child’s coq. Takes all day, but well worth it!

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