Coq au Vin (Chicken in wine)

1 lb bacon, diced
2 lb. chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups pearl onions (frozen or fresh)
3 cups whole cremini mushrooms
3 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 sprigs Thyme tied in a bundle with cotton twine
3 bay leaves
½ Cognac or Brandy (substitute ½ cup peach or apricot juice/syrup)
2 cups red wine (substitute 1 cup cranberry or grape juice and 1 cup water)
2 cups chicken broth

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in Dutch oven or large heavy pot. Cook bacon until rendered and crisp. Remove bacon and reserve for garnish. Pat chicken thighs with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Season with Kosher salt and pepper. Brown chicken in batches in hot bacon fat. Remove and set aside.

Cook onions (if using fresh. If frozen, add later) and mushrooms in fat in pan for 10 minutes or until onions and mushrooms are slightly browned. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add chicken back to the pan. Add pearl onions now if using frozen. Add Thyme, bay leaves, Cognac and wine. Add enough chicken brown to just cover the chicken. Bring to boil and simmer for 1 ½ hours.

To prepare for Gourmet Mashed Potato bar, carefully remove chicken thighs from pan. Let cool to make it easier to handle. Carefully pull the bone and any cartilidge from thighs, leaving only chunks of meat. Carefully return to pan, stirring as little as possible to avoid shredding of the meat. (meat was cooked with bone in for added flavor, but you could use boneless chicken thighs for ease in preparation). Thicken with wondra if necessary.

Timewise: make the day ahead, slowly reheat in oven 300 F. for 30 – 45 minutes.

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