Coq au Vin

It’s January, the holidays are over and it’s time for some comfort food.  Food historians differ on the origins of Coq au Vin. Legend has it that a similar dish can be traced back to Julius Caesar’s reign in 44 BC when Gaul was under Roman Rule.  Another, cites  a cookbook published in the 19th century titled ,” Cookery for English Households” as the first known recipe for a form of Coq au vin called Poulet au Vin Blanc.  However, the Chef that popularized Coq au Vin in the United States in the 20th century was Julia Child.  Coq au Vin was one of the featured recipes in Julia Child’s famous 1961 cookbook, “Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.

Here is a recipe for Coq au Vin that will delight your dinner guests.

Coq au Vin
Serves 4

1 chicken 5 lb. quartered
Salt &  ground pepper
Butter & oil
½ tsp. thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 ½ c. good burgundy
2 c. chicken stock or broth

Salt and pepper chicken to taste; dredge chicken slightly in flour. Pan fry in equal parts butter and oil until golden brown on all sides. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place chicken in casserole with remaining ingredients. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Remove chicken to platter; strain liquid in saucepan; reduce 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat. Thicken sauce with 2 tablespoons of roux, with equal proportion butter to flour; stir until smooth. Adjust seasoning if necessary to taste.

2 oz. lean fresh bacon, cubed
½ c. pearl onions
½ c. whole mushrooms

Saute bacon and onions 5 to 10 minutes, add mushrooms and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer. Strain and add garnish to sauce. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

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Scallops Wrapped in Bacon

One of our favorite appetizers is fresh scallops wrapped in bacon.  If you marinate the scallops, you will get a kicked-up version of this famous appetizer.  Cape Cod caterers will tell you that scallops wrapped in bacon are the most popular summer appetizer.

Scallops Wrapped in Bacon
(Serves 4)

12 medium sized scallops (If the scallops are large, cut them in half horizontally)
6 slices maple flavored bacon, cut in half
1 cup dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, crushed
dash freshly ground black pepper

Mix the wine, garlic and pepper in a bowl.  Marinate the scallops in the wine mixture for about 15 minutes.  Wrap each scallop in a half slice of bacon and skewer with a toothpick.  Broil or grill until the bacon is crisp.  Pop a cork and let the party begin!

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The Incredible Cape Cod Oyster

Each year the Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary in Cummaquid on Cape Cod,, under Sanctuary Director Ian Ives, hosts walking tours of a Barnstable Oyster Farm along with an oyster tasting.  The current tours are all filled but watch our Events feature on the website for future tours.  Meanwhile, enjoy a little oyster trivia and a fabulous recipe.








Did you know that the cultivation of oysters began more than 2,000 years ago in Rome?    Oysters were a staple food for Native Americans.  100 years ago, oyster harvests exceeded 10 million bushels a year.  These days they are not as plentiful – why?  mostly because we ate them.  Today, farming oysters is a big business.  It’s a business that’s great for the environment – oysters feed on algae and filter the water.  Long term, oysters    have the potential to dramatically improve water quality.  Plus they are sooo good!              

And, in case you didn’t know, oysters are also an aphrodisiac.  It’s said that Casanova (a famous 18th century lover) ate 50 oysters for breakfast every day.  Take a look at one of Cape Cod’s fabulous oyster farms:  Barnstable Seafarms owned by Les Hemmila.  And enjoy one of our favorite oyster recipes from “The New Irish Table“.

Baked Rock Oysters with Bacon, Cabbage and Guinness Sabayon
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup Guinness stout
Dash of fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
4 outer green cabbage leaves, finely shredded                                                                       
1 teaspoon canola oil
4 slices Irish or Canadian bacon, chopped
24 oysters in the shell

In a double boiler, whisk egg yolks, Guinness, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Place over barely simmering water and whisk 3 to 5 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.  Remove from heat and gradually drizzle in melted butter until sauce is well blended.

Cook cabbage in salted boiling water 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly wilted.  Drain and immerse in cold water.  Drain again.

In small skillet over medium heat, heat oil.  Cook bacon until crisp.  Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.

Shuck oysters over small bowl.  Reserve deeper half of each shell and rinse under cold water.  Place shells on a bed of rock salt in a small baking sheet with sides.  Divide cabbage among the shells, put an oyster on top of each and sprinkle bacon over oysters.  Spoon some of the sabayon over each.  Place under pre-heated boiler 4 inches from heat and cook for about 3 minutes, or until sauce is browned and bubbling.  Makes 4 servings.

Bon Appetit!!!