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Coq Au Vin (French Chicken Stew)

Coq au vin is one of the most well known and popular French chicken dishes. It consists of chicken braised with wine, bacon and mushrooms. Although red wine is typically used, white wine can also be used to make Coq Au Vin Blanc. It can be prepared a day or more before serving, which will result in an flavourful stew.

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Chicken Puttanesca

This tangy, somewhat salty Italian pasta dish has ingredients that are typical of Southern Italian cuisine: tomatoes, olive oil, anchovies, olives, olive oil, capers and garlic. Traditionally, the sauce is served with spaghetti, although it also goes well with penne, tagliatelli, linguine and even rice.

salt and pepper to season the chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 100 g each)
olive oil to fry
125 ml white wine or chicken stock
2 medium onions, peeled and finely diced
200 g cherry tomatoes, halved
30 ml tomato paste
10 ml crushed garlic
15 black olives, pitted
15 ml capers
30 ml basil, finely chopped fresh
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

  1. Brush the chicken breasts lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat and then sear the chicken breasts on both sides until nicely colored and almost done. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add half of the white wine or chicken stock to the hot saucepan to deglaze – scrape any bits of chicken that may have stuck on the bottom.
  4. Add the chopped onions and cook until the onions are translucent and soft – about 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste.
  6. Season with some salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like it spicy.
  7. Stir well and add the other half of white wine and cook covered with a lid for about 7 to 8 minutes until the tomatoes are tender and the sauce has thickened.
  8. Stir in the the olives, capers and minced garlic, and cook for another couple minutes.
  9. Add the chicken breasts into the saucepan. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes covered, or until the chicken breasts are thoroughly cooked.
  10. Sprinkle with the chopped basil and serve either with pasta of your choice or rice.

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This dish is a Milanese specialty of cross-cut veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth. It is often garnished with gremolata and traditionally served with polenta or mashed potato.  When loosely translated from Italian, Ossobucco means hollowed bone – a reference to the large piece of marrow in the center of the veal shank bone.

6 x 200 g crosscut veal shanks (2.5 to 4 cm in thickness)
125 ml cake flour
salt & pepper
45 ml butter
30 ml olive oil
30 g dry porcini mushrooms (optional)
125 ml onion, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
375 ml dry white wine
250 ml veal or beef stock

Gremolata (see Notes)
2 lemons, zest only (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
90 ml parsley, finely chopped

Creamy Polenta
250 ml polenta (yellow maize meal)
80 ml cream
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius.
  2. Dust each shank with flour, salt and pepper.
  3. In a large oven proof pan, melt the butter with the oil, and brown the shanks well on both sides.
  4. Remove to a separate plate and pour off any fat.
  5. Rehydrate the porcini mushrooms in a cup of warm water for 30 minutes.
  6. Drain, retaining the mushroom liquid, and finely chop the mushrooms and set aside.
  7. Strain the mushroom liquid through a fine sieve, and measure out 1/2 cup, then set aside.
  8. Add the vegetables to the pan, and sauté the vegetables until tender.
  9. Add the wine, scrape up any brown bits on the bottom, bring to a boil and reduce.
  10. Add the beef broth and mushroom liquid and heat.
  11. Return the shanks to the pan, cover and place in the oven for at least 2 hours, or until the meat begins to fall off the bones.
  12. Combine the ingredients for the gremolata topping and set it aside.
  13. To make the polenta, bring 750 ml cold water to the boil in a saucepan.
  14. Add the polenta in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, while stirring, for 5 minutes or until the polenta is soft.
  15. Remove the polenta from heat and stir in the cream.
  16. Season with salt and pepper and spoon into individual plates.
  17. Serve one shank per person and spoon some of the sauce over the shank and polenta.
  18. Sprinkle with the gremolata topping and serve.


  • If the sauce is not thick, carefully remove the veal shanks to a warm dish and return the pan to the stove top over high heat. Cook until the sauce has thickened. Just before serving, return the veal shanks to the pan to reheat.
  • Gremolata is an Italian garnish made from finely minced parsley, garlic and lemon zest.  It is traditionally served with veal but it is also an excellent accompaniment for fish and seafood dishes.

6 servings.

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Veal With Tuna Sauce (Vitello Tonnato)

Vitello tonnato is a Piedmontese dish of cold, sliced veal covered with a creamy, mayonnaise-like sauce that has been flavored with tuna. It is served chilled or at room temperature as the main course of an Italian meal or as antipasto.  This dish has unlikely ingredients, but the end result is quite delicious!  Be sure to read the post The Veal Deal for more info and recipes on veal.

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Paella takes its name from the typical wide, shallow saucepan used for this ever-popular Spanish rice dish with magnificent contrasting flavours, colours and textures. To simplify and save time, cook the ingredients simultaneously in two smaller saucepans and the large shallow paella-style pan.  Read more about National Spanish Paella Day here.

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