Chef Jeff-1

By Jeffrey Leonard

Cooking is an everyday essential to life. For students just starting college and potentially moving away from home there can be a difficult adjustment learning how to cook for themselves. This task does not have to seem daunting any longer.

Those who meet me quickly discover that cooking is a passion of mine. I particularly enjoy exploring meals from different countries.

This week, I seized the opportunity to cook a French chicken dish called, ‘Coq Au Vin’, which translates to “rooster with wine”, using a recipe by self-taught chef and author Ina Garten. The main ingredients include chicken, bacon, mushrooms and cognac.

The recipe itself is not a complicated one. Most of the work goes into preparing the chicken and chopping the vegetables.

The most important element is making sure the chicken is lightly browned before adding the rest of the ingredients and cooking it all together. Food safety is crucial to keep in mind as you don’t want anything undercooked in the final product.

Once all the ingredients a prepared, cooking time should take 40 minutes to an hour.

The main thing that I enjoyed particularly about this dish are the aromas it gives off coming out of the oven. My nose is met with notes of Brandy as well as the onions, truly causing my mouth to water.

I recommend pairing this dish with a deep green for a side such as collard greens, spinach or asparagus.

The taste of the dish is absolutely phenomenal. When I take that first bite I find that the blend of flavors that you carefully constructed (i.e., red wine and spices) incorporate themselves into the meat, causing each bite to take you on a fantastic French journey.

Ingredients courtesy of

2 tablespoons good olive oil
4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced