Lesson #8 : Coq au Shiraz

A Shiraz will tarry on your tongue—even after your palate has been cleansed with water.

The only coq au vin recipe I’d known was the one so dearly hailed by Julia Child. Its origins begin in Bourgogne, and its base ingredient: a swig (or three) of Burgundy.

I buy a $5 bottle of Australian Shiraz.
First notes: chocolate, cherry, and coconut.
Second notes: vanilla, berry, and spice. It is like the pain d’épices of wine—which is as close as a wine which is not Burgundy can get to a bottle of full-bodied Burgundy.

             My heart bleeds like wine,
             although I never drink it,
             dripping blithely;
             the slow-cooked chicken
             under a smoky oven
             drunk-tender with
             pearl onions.

Lesson #2: Let them eat brioche

 

How does one describe bread made with butter and eggs?
One mistakes it for a cake.
If you happen to be a French philosopher called
Rousseau, you crave it with wine                                                                                                and
write all about it in your autobiography.

Revolutionaries read Confessions (1769), and presume the “great princess”—who advises those who have no bread to instead eat brioche—to be the last Queen of France.

The hairdresser of Marie-Antoinette powders her extravagant bouffant with wheat flour.
The flour is supposed to add volume to the hair, in the same way proofing the dough makes it more capacious before baking it.
            The people of Paris are starving.                                                                                            An
uprising known as “The Flour War” begins.

            I make a Croque Monsieur out of brioche. I do not treat it like a cake.