So about the coq (au vin):
R. pulled out a Delia Smith* book I own that I got for $2 at a sale. It’s this insane encyclopedic volume of how to make just about everything. Now, I should tell you that I am not a Delia fan, and I haven’t actually made anything out of said book. The reason for both of those things is because all her recipes are calculated down to the very last granule of salt. It drives me nuts. I tend to take a more liberal/spontaneous approach in the kitchen, substituting ingredients with what’s on hand, and adding a sprinkle of this or a dash of that where I feel it’s needed (or just if it’s something I want).
But I have to give the woman credit: if you ever make anything out of her cookbook exactly as she says you should (how dull), it turns out delicious. R has proven this on many an occasion. In fact, he made this gorgeous looking coq au vin with a few changes to the Delia recipe. It was divine. The chicken was tender and juicy and practically fell off the bone. He used regular red onions rather than button onions, and they added wonderful texture to the chicken and helped flavor and thicken up the gravy. The proportions are different, and we used mostly chicken thighs because the meat there is soft and not stringy at all.
*Delia Smith is like an English version of Martha Stewart, but just for cooking.