Thursday, October 28, 2010

Coq Au Vin

Well, the time has finally arrived for our trip to Paris, and then Manchester, England,  for our son Randy's wedding to Deborah.  Our long time fans will remember that this wedding was really one of the main reasons that Judy and I originally joined Weight Watchers, in January of this year.  This is our third and final wedding of the year, all formal affairs.  We have a new look, new clothes, a new Blog, and a brand new life style. For those who are keeping score, Judy and I have thus far lost a total of nearly 90 pounds.

We leave tomorrow for Paris. Judy and I will be traveling with our youngest son Aaron who is currently a college student at the University of Arizona, and with Judy's mother Charlotte, who lives in Tulsa ,Oklahoma.  Charlotte has been visiting us for the past few days and has been enjoying some of our recent recipe successes.  The other day Charlotte mentioned that she couldn't wait to get to Paris so she could have some Coq Au Vin. "Why wait", I said, "I'll make it for you".

One of the most traditional and well known of all French dishes is Coq Au Vin which is basically Chicken cooked in wine. There must be a ton of recipes for Coq Au Vin available, but in keeping with our mission to bring you the most delicious foods prepared within the "Low Point" guidelines of our Weight Watchers lifestyle, I went to the WW website to see what I could find.

I located a couple of recipes. One called for Red wine, the other for White.  One included Center Cut Bacon, the other called for Turkey Bacon.  In the end I decided to "Mix and Match" using what I thought would be the best of both recipes that I had seen.

There are a lot of ingredients in the following recipe. Each ingredient requires that it be incorporated into the dish at a different time. I find that by measuring out each ingredient and setting it aside before preparation makes it that much easier when it comes time to add it to the mixture.  I do this whenever I prepare a dish.  Maybe it's the Virgo in me, but as I add each ingredient to the main mixture, I clean out the measuring container in which the ingredient was held.  In this way, when the final ingredient goes into the mix, everything is already cleaned and put away.  No muss, no fuss, just Eat.

The wonderful aromas that wafted through the house during meal preparation lasted throughout the meal and well into the evening.  It was almost like being in France. Almost.

Take a chance with this recipe.  Save it for a real occasion.  Invite your best friends over to enjoy it with you.

Coq Au Vin


2 slices of turkey Bacon, Chopped into 1/4 inch pieces
3 1/2 pounds of chicken.  I used boneless, skinless Breasts and Thighs
1/2 pound Cremini Mushrooms, Sliced into 1/4 inch thick pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 Tbsp canned tomato paste
6 oz frozen Pearl Onions, 1 cup
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cups white wine, dry
1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled, cut in half
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp water
2 tsp brown gravy
2 Tbsp Parsley, fresh, chopped


Heat a non-stick high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 3 - 4 minutes; transfer to paper towel to drain.

Add the chicken to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the mushrooms, chopped onion and garlic to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste until smooth.  Add the whole onions and carrots, cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add the broth, wine, and potatoes; bring to a boil, stirring to scrape the bottom of the skillet for the browned bits. Return the chicken and bacon to the pan. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender and the juice runs clear from the chicken, when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes.

Combine the flour, water and brown gravy in a small bowl until smooth; stir in about 1/4 cup of the hot liquid from the pan, until blended. Add the flour mixture and parsley to the pot and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 3 minutes.

Yields 1/8 of the chicken and 1 cup of sauce per serving.  Total servings, about 8.  Weight Watchers PointsPlus value per serving 14.  Level of difficulty is Easy.  Prep time is 20 minutes, Cooking time is 50 minutes.

Weight Watchers is a trademark of Weight Watchers Intl. Inc.

Photos by Barry Baruh

Of Special Note:

Judy, Charlotte and I are taking a French Cooking class while in Paris.  The class is given by a company called Cook'n with Class  It's near Montmarte.  I found it through a search for 1/2 day cooking classes in Paris.  When I mentioned to Randy, the Groom to be, about a cooking class I was looking for he suggested that I try to find the one in Montmarte, not knowing that I already had found it.  He had heard great things about it.  So, we're extremely excited to be taking this class.  I'll report back in future posts about the experience.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Country Captain Chicken with Rice, Slow Cooker

Whenever I am crunched for time, one solution is to try and find a recipe that I can prepare in a Crock Pot.   Such was the case the other day.  As I was searching the web looking for yet another interesting and unusual dish to prepare, I came across today's featured recipe.  

At first glance I thought this was an Indian dish because of the inclusion of Curry in the recipe.  However, I discovered that this is actually a well known Southern Dish.  I found this very intriguing because Judy is from the south and has never mentioned the dish to me.  Maybe Oklahoma isn't really in the south after all. So I did a little research and found the following information;

Country Captain Chicken – A curried chicken dish. The chicken is browned and then stewed in a sauce of tomatoes, onion, garlic, and curry powder. At the end, golden raisins are added. The dish is served over rice sprinkled with toasted almonds. As with all chicken recipes in the South, Country Captain Chicken varies with the cook. Some recipes call for a long cooking time and other use quick-cooking chicken breasts. One thing is always certain about this dish; it is perfumed and slightly spiced with curry. 
The Hobson Jobson Dictionary states it this way;
COUNTRY-CAPTAIN. This is in Bengal the name of a peculiar dry kind of curry, often served as a breakfast dish. We can only conjecture that it was a favourite dish at the table of the skippers of ‘country ships,’ who were themselves called ‘country captains,’ as in our first quotation. In Madras the term is applied to a spatchcock dressed with onions and curry stuff, which is probably the original form. [Riddell says: “Country-captain.—Cut a fowl in pieces; shred an onion small and fry it brown in butter; sprinkle the fowl with fine salt and curry powder and fry it brown; then put it into a stewpan with a pint of soup; stew it slowly down to a half and serve it with rice” (Ind. Dom. Econ. 176).]
1792.—“But now, Sir, a Country Captain is not to be known from an ordinary man, or a Christian, by any certain mark whatever.”—Madras Courier, April 26.

c. 1825.—“The local name for their business was the ‘Country Trade,’ the ships were ‘Country Ships,’ and the masters of them ‘Country Captains.’ Some of my readers may recall a dish which was often placed before us when dining on board these vessels at Whampoa, viz. ‘Country Captain.’”—The Fankwae at Canton (1882), p. 33.
This delicious dish, known throughout Georgia, dates to the early 1800s. It is thought that this dish was brought to Georgia by a British sea captain who had been stationed in Bengali, India and shared the recipe with some friends in the port city of Savannah, Georgia. Savannah was then a major shipping port for the spice trade. The dish was named for the officers in India called “Country Captains.” 
In the 1940s, Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd President of the United States and General George S. Patton (1885-1945), U.S. Army General, were served this dish in Warm Springs, Georgia, by Mrs. W. L. Bullard. Their praise and love of this dish helped to rekindle its Southern classic status. 

We are so happy to be able to bring this dish to you. It's quick. It's easy, and it's so delicious. Enjoy!

Country Captain Chicken with Rice, in a Slow Cooker.


2 tsp olive oil

2 cups Shitake mushrooms, fresh, sliced
1 cup onions, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cups fat free chicken broth
1 & 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 tsp paprika
3 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 cups golden raisins
2 cups cooked brown rice


Coat a large skillet with olive oil. Add mushrooms, onion, celery and garlic. Saute until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Place vegetables in slow cooker and add Chicken.

In a cup, stir together flour and chicken broth until smooth. Add to slow cooker. Add curry powder, salt, pepper, paprika, crushed tomatoes and raisins, stir into mixture.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours. Stir occasionally.

To serve, spoon 1/2 cup of rice onto each of 4 plates. Top each with chicken and sauce and serve.

Yields 2 1/2 cups chicken mixture and 1/2 cup rice per serving. Total servings is 4. Prep time is 20 minutes, Cooking time is 5 hours. Level of difficulty is Easy. Weight Watchers PointsPlus value per serving is 9.

Weight Watchers is a trademark of Weight Watchers Intl. Inc.

Photo by Barry Baruh