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In a very large, deep bowl, combine the
Whole Chickens (5 lb)
Red Wine (1 bottle)
Celery (2 stalks)
Get a small patch of cheesecloth and tie the
Black Peppercorns (1 Tbsp)
Whole Cloves (6)
up in it tightly with kitchen twine. Place that sachet in the bowl as well, along with the
Fresh Thyme (2 sprigs)
Fresh Rosemary (2 sprigs)
Let the chicken sit covered in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or even up to overnight.
When it is done marinating, remove the chicken to a plate and pat it dry with paper towel. Set it aside.
Remove the herb sprigs and the sachet of spices as well and set them aside. Strain the wine through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and reserve it, as well as the vegetables held in the strainer.
Get out a large dutch oven and put the
Bacon (8 oz)
into it. Heat it up over medium-high heat and let the bacon cook and crisp up completely for about 10 minutes. Remove it to a plate when done.
Butter (2 Tbsp)
to the pot and let it start to melt. Season the chicken generously inside and out with
Salt (2 pinches)
Ground Black Pepper (2 pinches)
. Place it in the pot and let the skin get nicely brown for about 5 minutes on each side, using tongs to move it. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon when it is browned on the outside.
Cremini Mushrooms (2 1/4 cups)
for a couple of minutes, until softened, followed by the reserved vegetables from the marinade. Let them get fragrant.
Pour in the reserved wine from the marinade and put the chicken, bacon, herbs, and spice sachet back into the pot. Bring it to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce it to a simmer. Let the coq au vin cook for 2 hours.
Remove the chicken to a carving board and pull it apart. While you pull the chicken, remove the herbs and spice sachet from the pot and turn the heat back up on the wine sauce. Let it gently boil and reduce by half to thicken and concentrate the flavors.
Place the chicken on a large, deep platter and spoon the sauce all over it. Serve immediately with buttered noodles and/or crusty bread!
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