Rub a large cut-up chicken with salt, pepper and raw garlic cloves
Marinate chicken in a big covered pot in fridge for 24 hours in the mixture below:
1/2 750 litre bottle of cheap brandy (E&J, definitely don't waste Hennessey or Corvosier, that is for you to drink)
1 750 bottle of cheap burgundy wine, like Carlo Rossi, eg.
10-15 sliced cloves of fresh garlic
teaspoon of fresh peppercorns
3 stalks of celery halved
2 carrots peeled and halved
4 -5 sprigs of thyme
a little bit of sage
4 bay leaves
2 large onions quartered
sliced mushrooms (as many as you like, or omit if you don't)
stir it every few hours during the marinating process
Remove chicken parts from marinade after 24 hours, fry in olive oil till all sides are slightly browned
Reduce heat a little, remove and put aside chicken, and saute onions, mushrooms and garlic from the marinade pot until tender.
Transfer the rest of the wine/cognac marinade to another bowl, you will need that big pot.
In the big pot, on medium high flame, add the chicken and the sauteed garlic/onion/mushroom from the frying pan, all the herbs and veggies from the marinage (take them out with a slotted spoon), and about 1/4 of the wine/cognac marinade. Bring it to a boil, then turn it down to simmer for 15 minutes.
Gradually add the rest of the marinade over the next hour, bring to boil when adding more, then down to simmer again.
You want to cook it on low for about an hour and a half altogether.
At the end of that time thicken the gravy in the pot by mixing four tablespoons of flour in a pyrex with a little cold water (about 3/4 of a cup, but I always do it by eye). Stir the flour and water in the pyrex until it is smooth and silky with no lumps of flour. AS your pot of coq au vin is still simmering on medium, add this flour mixture in and stir it briefly till it is evenly mixed throughout and thickened. Shut off the heat and cover.
Potatoes or rice?
I make mine with potatoes but rice is good too. If you do potatoes, peel about ten of them, halve them, and cook them in with the coq au vin for the last half hour or 40 minutes. Doing this will soak up some of the liquid and may require less flour for thickening at the end. You can always do 2 tablespoons of flour and less than a half cup of water.
**It will be easier to remove the chicken and the potatoes from the pot before you thicken the flour, then throw them all back into the pot once you have thickened the gravy. Coq au vin is a one pot dish.
***If you choose rice instead of potato, then pour the coq au vin over rice in a big serving bowl.
Now mangia and have your dinner with a glass of good French wine, and perhaps a snifter of Hennessey after dinner. Cheers
Let me know how it turns out. This is the first time I ever wrote down this recipe. Like a good Italian woman I do not write recipes or work from written, they are all in my head. My daughter learns to cook from watching me, like I learned from my mother, etc.