Monday, March 14, 2016

Pressure Cooker Coq au Vin

Pressure Cooker Coq au Vin

I've had few foods simmered in wine that aren't delicious. Coq au Vin is one true classic of the genre, but all that flavorful simmering can take time. A Bon Appétit recipe I looked at braises the chicken in the oven for 1 and 1/4 hours. When you consider the other prepping, sautéing and reducing steps, you're looking at a recipe that's easily at least 3 hours to make.

Braising the chicken in a pressure cooker speeds up the cooking time considerably. This is still by no means a "quick" meal--it took me over an hour--but it's certainly an improvement over something that takes all afternoon.

I adapted this recipe from elements from two recipes: a pressure-cooker specific recipe by
Barbara Schieving and Mark Bittman's recipe, combining the elements I liked best from both. These recipes are pretty similar although they call for drastically different quantities of liquid. Schieving's recipe calls for 1 cup of wine and 1 cup of stock, which she thickens with cornstarch; Bittman's recipe calls for twice as much liquid, and the resulting sauce it thickened only by reduction. That can take time. I sought a happy medium by using 1 1/2 cups each of the wine and the stock and letting reduction and tomato paste thicken the sauce.

Pressure Cooker Coq au Vin
Adapted from recipes by Mark Bittman for How to Cook Everything and Barbara Schieving for Pressure Cooking Today,

Note: This recipe uses a stove-top style pressure cooker. My model is a Fagor Duo 8 quart.

1/2 oz. dired porcini mushrooms
4 oz. thick-cut hickory-smoked bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 1/2 to 3 lb. boneless-skinless chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 yellow onion, cut into large dice
8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch thick pieces
1 1/2 cups red wine (I recommend pinot noir)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl and pour 1 cup hot water over them. Set aside.

2. Place the pressure cooker pan on the stove over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook, stirring occasionally until browned and crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside on a paper-towel-lined plate.

3. Increase the heat under the pressure cooker pan to medium-high. Add half the chicken thighs and brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side, seasoned to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove the browned chicken thighs and set aside on a plate. Repeat with the remaining thighs.

4. Add the onion and mushrooms to the pan and sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrot and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Add the wine to the pan and stir to deglaze the pan, then add the chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, tomato paste, cooked bacon and browned chicken.

5. Lock the lid onto the pressure cooker and set pressure setting to "high." When pressure is reached (it may take about 5 to 10 minutes), reduce heat to simmer and maintain pressure. Cook for 10 minutes under pressure. Place the pressure cooker in the sink and pour cold water over the lid to release pressure. Remove the lid, then remove the chicken and set aside on a plate.

6. Place the pressure cooker pan with the remaining ingredients on the stove and heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Add the porcini mushrooms along with their soaking water. Boil until the mixture reduced by about half. Reduce heat to medium, stir in the butter, then add the chicken and cook on medium for a couple minutes to reheat the chicken. Serve the coq a vin in shallow bowls topped with a sprinkle of parsley.

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