National Coq Au Vin Day is celebrated annually on May 29, and we couldn’t be more appreciative of yet another day devoted to French cuisine. This holiday not only broadens our cultural horizons, but also our waistlines! The name of the dish literally translates to ‘rooster in wine,’ and it could not be any simpler, as it was initially prepared by French peasants. You may have heard the erroneous attribution of “A chicken in every pot” to President Hoover. The true proponent was French King Henry IV, who desired that all his subjects have a Sunday chicken in their pots. This dish consists of chicken braised in a garlicky, mushroomy, bacon-lard sauce; with copious amounts of wine added.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL COQ AU VIN DAY
Many claim that the concept of braising a rooster in wine is ancient and may trace back as far as 6000 B.C. Although the precise origin of coq au vin is shrouded in mystery, it has an interesting anecdotal history dating back to Julius Caesar’s 58 B.C. conquest of Gaul (modern-day France and Belgium). Gilbert Cesbron, a French novelist, once wrote, “The symbol of France was the rooster. Today’s special is coq au vin.” No more accurate remarks could have been spoken. Apparently, the rooster was a Gallic symbol of valour, so it is said that when Caesar conquered the Gauls, one of the regional tribal chiefs sent him a rooster as a sign of defiance. To repay the favour, Caesar invited him to dinner, where he served the same rooster cooked in wine to the Gallic chief. Whether or not this is strictly true is irrelevant, as it makes a wonderful story for your next French-themed dinner party.
During the 1600s in France, King Henry IV reportedly desired that each of his peasantry have “a chicken in his pot every Sunday.” His vision of altruism appeared to have been taken seriously, as coq au vin was a French peasant dish that became popular throughout Europe. In 1864, a cookbook titled “Cookery for English Households” first published a recipe for ‘poulet au vin blanc’ (chicken in white wine), which was very similar to coq au vin today.
Julia Child’s seminal 1961 cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” is largely responsible for making coq au vin popular in the United States. Along with other mouthwatering classic French recipes, Julia Child is credited with introducing French cuisine to households across the United States.
Five ESSENTIAL FRENCH SAUCES TO COVER ALL THE BASES
Literally meaning ‘Dutch-style,’ this dish gives homage to butter and egg yolks whisked together.
Rich brown sauce composed of brown roux, mirepoix, and, frequently, tomato purée.
Traditionally referred to as “white sauce,” it comprises of a roux made of flour, butter, and milk.
From the French word for’velvet,’ this sauce is composed of non-roasted bone stock and a traditional roux.
A brown sauce made with either beef or poultry stock, resembling Espagnole in flavour.
NATIONAL COQ AU VIN DAY DATES