During the first Eat on $30 Challenge, The Frugal Hostess had the pleasure to "meet" Leekfixer first on Twitter, and then IRL a few short weeks ago. Leekfixer writes about his suburban farming adventures on The Funny Farm and about his collisions with French food here on The Frugal Hostess. And now, Dear Readers, FruHo urges you to delve into this multi-national incident.
LeFix was watching one of those Iron Chef shows awhile back, and they were talking about Coq au Vin. He thought they were talking about some kind of kinky porno stuff he hadn't heard of yet but it turned out they were talking about chicken. When he looked it up on the interwebs (LeFix always heard it called the internet but maybe not) he found out that the fancy-pants French chefs liked to use old hens to make this stuff. They put wine in it too, which LeFix thinks is a waste of good Party Likker but what the hey... when in Paris....
Well, LeFix's friend was moving from one farm to another, and he had some hens he didn't want to move because he said they were too old and wouldn't lay eggs much longer. He tried to find somebody to buy them but seeing as how there ain't too many fancy pants French Chefs around these parts he gave one to LeFix. Woohhooo -- time to make coq au vin.
LeFix went on the interwebs again and found a recipe on a site called Epicurius (LeFix thinks that is French for people who are curious to learn how to cook). The recipe said it would take two days to make. TWO DAYS!!! LeFix usually likes to cook stuff that takes more like 30 minutes, you know like that cute Rachael Ray does on TV. (Not really, but 2 DAYS?) Well, being that it was Christmas and LeFix doesn't like sitting around watching football all day he decided that, since LaFix had invited a bunch of people over for dinner in a few days, he might as well give it a shot.
The recipe said to make a marinade with a whole bottle of wine, some onions, carrots, garlic and pepper and let the coq soak in it for a day. Ok, if the coq was going to soak up some wine then Le Fix figured he should get some Party Likker and join in the fun. (Step 1: Drink a shot of homemade Party Likker.)
It was after that when the lightbulb came on and LeFix remembered the bottles of wine his best friend brought over to the Funny Farm about a year ago. You may be wondering why LaFix hadn't drunk that wine after a year (she really likes her wine). Well it turns out that LeFix’s best friend was a deadhead (you know: following around the Grateful Dead, hair in dreadlocks, selling hemp jewelry, getting high, twirl dancing, hula hooping). Somehow or other she ended up with a bunch of Deadhead wine. Problem was that the wine had been dealcoholized (which means somebody removed the Party Likker and drank it themselves, I guess). Nobody here at the Funny Farm wants to drink dealcoholized wine. We like our Party Likker intact. So if you won't drink it you might as well cook with it. [Editor’s note: Um, what? How do you take the booze part out of booze? Was it Wharf Rat wine?]
So, the Deadhead wine went into a pot along with the other ingredients the recipe called for. Now here is where the multinational part comes in. LeFix grows a type of onion here at the Funny Farm called a Welsh onion. It comes from Wales (that’s over near England somewhere). Oh yeah, there is another French Connection too (haha). Since LaFix invited so many people over for dinner LeFix needed another coq to feed everyone. Well the coq dealer [Editor’s note: HA!] didn't have any more free hens so Le Fix had to buy a chicken. This chicken cost $20 freakin' dollars. And the damn thing only ate grass and bugs. What's up with that? It turns out it was a kind of chicken called a Poulet Rouge (that's French for red chicken) [Editor’s note: Not French for a chicken wearing makeup?]. Le Fix was expecting the meat to be red but when he cut it open it looked just like that old hen, only less fat. The dang thing better taste real good.
While the coqs were soaking up the wine LeFix made another batch of pate like he talked about last time using livers from those French red chickens. The livers were red but so were the other ones. [Editor’s note: So Poulet Rouge remains a mystery.]
The recipe called for mushrooms so the next day Le Fix went out in the woods to get some wild oyster mushrooms to put into the dish. He nearly broke his freakin' neck sliding down the muddy hill where they were growing but the recipe said use wild mushrooms so LeFix was determined to follow it to a T. Well except it called for bacon which LeFix did not have but he figured he could get away with using fatback he got from Nature's Harmony Farm where they raise their half-wild pigs in the woods where they get fat eating acorns and stuff.
Oh yeah, it called for shallots which are some kind of French onion (not that kind that comes in a can that you put on green bean casserole. LeFix has plenty of those). But, keeping with the multinational theme, LeFix decided it would be okay to use more of those Welsh onions. Then he read further and saw it called for 20 pearl onions. Pearl onions? What the heck are those? Those fancy pants French chefs sure are picky about their onions. Le Fix grew a bunch of garlic this year so he decided to expand the multinationality into another country and use garlic instead. (Garlic? Italy? Mama mia!)
So from here on out there was a lot of straining this, browning that, simmering this, that and the other, until finally everything goes into one pot for a while. Then, after it was finished LeFix put it in the refrigerator until the next day because the recipe said it would taste better. LeFix was so hungry by that point he could have eaten the whole thing. But guests were coming tomorrow. [Editor’s note: FruHo is so hungry at this point that she gnawed through her mouse cord.]
LaFix had invited the guests over for coqtails before dinner so it was touch and go for a while for LeFix to actually get the coq au vin on the table cause LeFix au vin was having a little (well more than a little) trouble focusing after having a few coqtails. But everybody pitched in and le coq au vin hit the table and was gobbled up in short order.
Complete coq au von recipe can be found here.
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