I remember watching Julia Child as a kid. She was on the PBS channel after my Saturday morning cartoons. I loved her enthusiasm and passion for French cooking. When she made a mistake, she would just keep right on going! Whenever I make a mistake cooking, I think, "What would Julia do?" Her food looked so decadent and fancy, but she insisted it was easy.
Years later, I discovered she was right! It is decadent, fancy AND easy!
I just recently learned how to make coq au vin. It is so delicious and easy, I make it once a month or so. Cooking with wine sounds expensive, but it's not. We are wine drinkers, and try to drink a glass a night with dinner ($5 bottle, not Dom Perignon!). Sometimes, we open a bottle, we don't finish it, and we accidentally leave it open too long. Wine starts to turn to vinegar pretty rapidly if you leave it open too long and it starts to oxidize. Instead of throwing it out, I make coq au vin with it.
I tried a slightly different technique with my coq au vin this time. I took pieces of chicken with veggies and marinated it in the wine with some herbes de provence. I love marinades. I thought, why can't you marinade coq au vin? It has such a wonderful rich flavor, I thought it would be even better if the chicken marinated and allowed the wine to permeate the meat.
I let it marinade 2 days. I browned the chicken in a large dutch oven, then put all the veggies and the wine marinade in.
It simmered for about 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, I prepared a dessert treat. Poached pears.
I took a pear, peeled it, cut in half, and cut out the core. I put it in a small oven safe pan. Made a mixture of 4 tablespoons lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar, a teaspoon of cognac (optional), and about 4 tablespoons water. I poured it over the top of the pears. Covered with lid, and baked it in the oven at 325F for about 45 minutes until the pears were soft.
Always have a big leafy salad with lots of colorful veggies at every meal. Always.
I served the coq au vin. I should have taken all the pieces out and made a reduction with the juices, but...I was hungry. And lazy. So the sauce is bit more watery than it should be.
I plated the pear with a scoop of homemade dark chocolate gelato and fresh blueberries.
Looks decadent, fatty and rich, doesn't it? It all looks like something we are cheating on, or shouldn't do.
Not so fast. Here's the breakdown
Coq au Vin with salad:
Poached Pears with Dark Chocolate Gelato and Fresh Blueberries:
Net total for the whole meal:
You've got a serving of protein, big pile of veggies, and a serving of fruit for less than 400 calories. It is neither low carbohydrate nor low fat, but it's the right mix of things you need to be healthy. Notice that there are no starches, however. You can add a small piece of bread, if you like. I felt it was unnecessary.
None of it is overwhelming. When we finished our meal, we were satisfied, not stuffed. When was the last time you had a fruit serving at dessert, and for less than 100 calories? Here is apparently the French secret to dessert. The combination of the lemon citrus, the pear, and the chocolate gelato blends together so well, you aren't screaming for more at the end. Less is more. The other trick (metabolically) is the fructose from the fruit, and the small bit of fat from the gelato prevents your insulin from surging. No raging mood swings. No sugar high, then crash. No hunger pains an hour after dinner.
Julia Child was 91 when she died. If any of this is unhealthy, let's just say I'd rather eat this unhealthy with cognac poached pears in my belly.