Vive Le France!

Hi again! We’re back with our new international cooking destination courtesy of Miss A. Usually when it’s her turn we pull the big Atlas book out and she flips around to find a page she likes – more often than not it involves the color pink. This time the big book was not consulted. She was sure of her pick – France. I asked her if that was really what she wanted, and didn’t she want to look at the big book…nope, France. peeling garlic

Talk about an intimidating choice. I mean French food. It’s among the most revered cuisines around the world, there are many, many phenomenal French cooks, but perhaps most intimidating of all, my family roots can be traced back to the Rhine River area of France and I have not once made a French dish. coatofarms

I didn’t really know about my French history until Mr. N was required to research our heritage for school. We started by consulting the extensive family tree that was fortunate to be in my Grandpa’s possession. If you trace the roots on our branch through many generations we end up at Daniel and Mary Fierre in 1685. After doing a little digging we discovered the following:

Maria Warenbauer [Marie de la Warenbau, Marie de la Warrembere, Mary Warrenbur] was born about 1650 possibly in France. She died 1716 in Pequea Valley, Lancaster (then Chester) County, Penn. Maria married Daniel Feree, a Descendent of Robert Ferree who in 1265 founded noble family at Forchamps known variously as LeFerre, Ferree, Ferrie, Fuchre, Fierre, Firre and Ferie. Daniel was a wealthy silk manufacturer who located at Landau, France, along Rhine River, where some and perhaps all of his six children were born. After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 by French King Louis XIV, the family fled to Strasbourg, Alsace. Later, they moved to Steinwiel, Bittingheim. Daniel was born c.1650 in France and died early 1708 in Bittingheim. After the death of her husband, Maria and Matthias Schliermacher led a group of 54 Huguenot and German Calvinists from the Palatinate, where they were in danger from the soldiers of French King Louis XIV, to Holland and then London. Reaching London in the summer of 1708, she went to see William Penn about buying land in Pennsylvania. Penn arranged for her to have a private audience with Queen Anne, who then recommended the members of the group be given naturalization status. Mme. Ferree’s group bought 4,000 acres from Penn in the Pequea Valley in Lancaster County. Ferree family joined party of Rev. Joshua Kocherthal and set sail 10-15-1708 on “The Globe,” arriving in New York 12-31-1708. They then went up Hudson River valley to Esopus (Kingston) and nearby New Paltz, site of a Huguenot settlement where some of the group had relatives, including Maria’s son-in-law, Isaac Lefevre, two of whose uncles, Simon and Andries Lefevre, had been among the founders of New Paltz, N.Y. They stayed there until the spring of 1712 while their Pennsylvania land was being surveyed. That done, they moved to what became Lancaster County.

We even discovered a reunion website and a cemetery. At this point I’m wondering why I’ve never cooked any French food! Better late than never I guess, so we bring you Coq au Vin (Chicken in Wine). bacon

For this particular recipe, we adapted several versions of the dish we found online, all of which were based on Julia Child’s version. We started by crisping a bit of bacon which was then removed and set aside. Next we tossed in the chicken and pearl onions to brown on both sides. We also poured in a touch of Cognac. browning chicken

Once the chicken was browned, it was time to add the Burgundy, chicken stock, garlic and herbs. chicken in wine

Now if we had read Charles’ post before cooking our coq au vin, we would have tied our thyme, rosemary and bay leaves into a little bouquet (or even made a sachet) to make it easier to discard them after cooking. C’est la vie. seasonings

After the chicken cooks in the wine for a bit it is removed, along with the pearl onions and set aside. (This is also the point the herbs are discarded.) Then the mushrooms and bacon are added to the pot and brought to a high heat. After stirring in a bit of flour, the sauce is left to reduce by 3/4′s. mushrooms

Lastly a bit of butter is melted in the sauce and the chicken and onions are once again incorporated. final dish

The final dish was then served to our hungry crowd (the aromas were killing us!). Coq au Vin

Well, I have one word for you – délicieux. The chicken was tender, full of flavor and a total crowd pleaser. Even Mike, who has often said, “It’s good, but it’s just chicken,” gave this recipe the coveted 4 spoons! (So did I.) chicken burgundy

Mr. N and Miss A were both happy with the taste of the chicken and each ate two pieces. The mushrooms were a bit too much for them to get around though. While they have been eating mushrooms hidden in ravioli or other creative dishes, it’s hard to hide the mushrooms in coq au vin. Remarkably they both still came in with a 3 spoon vote. I’d say that’s some good chicken! coq au vin

I wonder if our French ancestors would be proud. We were for our first attempt at la cuisine. In fact I’m certain it won’t be our last French meal in this house! However, before we move on we’ll share the recipe for the side dish we enjoyed with our chicken (and of course the dessert!). French dinner

Until then, if you’d like to try your hand at a delicious French meal print the recipe: Coq au Vin

39 comments on “Vive Le France!

  1. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    I love Coq au Vin but haven’t tried making it at home. I can totally imagine the aroma was going crazy when it’s done cooking (or even while cooking!). I only know my mom side history up till my great grandparents. Before that I have no idea… it’s fun to check how far we can find out! I’m so hungry looking at your meal right now… including my favorite leeks. :)

  2. It is amazing what you come up with you try to research your family tree :) so many stories and twists
    I think Miss A chose a wonderful destination and I can’t wait to see the rest of your French adventure

  3. Modern Gypsy says:

    This looks delicious and not as complicated as I would have thought it would be. I will have to try it sometime soon :-)

  4. Najihah says:

    Love this. Read this on the perfect timing too!

  5. Miss A, always has impeccable taste! This is a classic dish and your photos look like your cooking helpers did a fine job of prep and execution with this daunting task. It is very exciting to find your roots. Now don’t loose that data. One time many years ago I did countless hours of research on our family tree back to Italy and something happened during the move and now poof, I can’t find my data. Like John had mentioned I guess I will just have to go back to Italy and eat may through while searching for my family tree. Its a tough job but someone has to do it!! Take Care, BAM

    • Kristy says:

      Oh how awful to lose your data Bam! I will definitely store this for safekeeping. :) And I may have to go back to Italy to eat my way through as well…I don’t think I’ll discover any family roots, but it won’t stop me from trying. ;)

  6. What an interesting family history, Kristy! You were able to learn so much, it must be very fascinating to you, too! And thank Miss A for choosing France. This recipe is just wonderful, and your photos were so perfect I felt like I was able to enjoy some of that wonderful aroma, too. As soon as I can can hook up to a printer this one is a definite YES for me! :-) I’m already giving it 4 spoons. Yum!

    • Kristy says:

      I had to thank her for picking France too. I was so nervous at first, but we’re thoroughly enjoying the dishes we’ve picked so far. :)

  7. Such a classic. Turned out beautifully.

  8. bakerbynature says:

    I love-love-love French food, so I’m glad Miss A picked France ;)

    I’d take a big plate of this any night!!!

  9. Eva Taylor says:

    Wow, that is some discovery Kristy, I wish I had some French heritage — it would certainly explain my high heel shoe fetish. The dish looks wonderful, full of flavour and totally comforting. I’ve never made Coq au vin either, but this post certainly makes me want to. But I’ve retired my oven for the summer so we’ll bookmark to make when fall weather is upon us.

  10. Raymund says:

    I guess I would need more bread on this dish, to scrape out all of that wonderful sauce

  11. i think its so cool to learn about new things in our family history and my friend- France is definitely being rocked in your house that night. the dish- superb! Really it looks so amazing and for a second I thought I was in france:)

  12. ChgoJohn says:

    Coq au vin is such a wonderful dish and by the looks of your photos, you did a fantastic job preparing it. It’s a wonderful thing that you can trace your family’s roots back so far. I’ve tried but I can only go back as far as my family’s members arriving from Italy. Sounds like I may need to go to Italy to do some field research. Hmm…

    • Kristy says:

      I think that’s a great idea! I mentioned to Bam that I would love to do the same…although I doubt I’d find any roots in Italy, it wouldn’t stop me from eating my way through trying to find out. :)

  13. Oh my goodness Kristy, what a gorgeous looking dish! Yes, Miss A has taken on the capital of gastronomy and just look at how well you guys rocked it! Your coq au vin looks positively succulent and may I just say that the light hitting your photos is exquisite (or should I say exquis :0).

    How interesting about your family history… isn’t it cool how these mysterious are revealed to us? In the end, as we always knew, we are all brothers and sisters ;-). Now if I could just get my hair to fall like Miss A’s, I’d be all set! :O)

  14. Mary says:

    Great pick Miss A!!! so interesting about your family tree- the coq au vin looks fabulous! most of mine won’t touch mushrooms either :(
    Mary x

  15. hotlyspiced says:

    I love Coq Au Vin and I have it on my blog too. It’s excellent comfort food and I’ve served it often and never had any complaints. In fact, it’s coming to that time of year again and I think I need to break out the recipe xx

  16. Charles says:

    Nice, Kristy – did you tell me you were pretty much finished with the French cooking now? That’s too bad… I’d have loved to proffer some suggestions (though maybe you’ll end up making them anyway in upcoming posts?!). I’m really surprised that the recipe you followed didn’t say anything about tying the herbs together. It’s called a “bouquet garni” and is something that’s very common in French cuisine… really makes things easy at the end!

    You know, I’ve never tried coq au vin – were you able to find a “coq” (male chicken)? I’m not sure of the differences, but I heard there’s another dish called “poule au vin” (female chicken) so I guess it must be different enough. Looks like you nailed the dish though – looks fantastic, so yummy. Did you fry or grill the bread slightly too? It looks like a perfect side with the chicken and wonderful sauce! And 4 spoons for both you and Mike – a winner, winner, chicken dinner it seems! :)

    • Kristy says:

      Interesting. I suppose this is poule au vin then. At least that’s my guess. I don’t really know, but I’m assuming the chicken we used was from a female. And yes, we toasted the bread in the oven a bit – made it slightly crunchy, but still soft in the center. Mmmm. We are almost wrapped up with our French cooking. We have four more recipes to share, but one more dish to make. We are making the ratatouille you suggested to us a while back. :)

  17. Your French ancestors would be extremely proud! Coq au Vin is a wonderful meal, always so full of fabulous flavour and fall of the bone tender chicken. Yours looks divine!
    Have a super day. :-) Mandy xo

  18. This looks delicious! Will have to give it a shot. I love mushrooms, but my kids also eat around it!

  19. ben says:

    Great photos, and looks very yummy. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Dawn says:

    YUM!!! This is definitely my type of cooking, and please tell Miss A that I am extremely pleased with her choice…I was fixated on France as a young kid as well, and look at me now!

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