Ikaria Inspired Coq au Vin w Grape Molasses
Rooster is much more delicious than chicken, with dark, almost gamy meat and real texture. This dish is called Kokkoras Krasatos in Greek. I add a twist: a little petimezi, or grape molasses,which lends an almost smokey depth of flavor to this classic Sunday and festive dish. You can find petimezi as well as a range of other carefully curated Greek artisinal ingredients at my online shop here.
- Ikarian “Coq au Vin”
- 1 large rooster about 5 pounds / 2 ½ kilos,* cut into serving pieces
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 2 large red onions halved and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves sliced thin or minced
- 1 cup dry red wine preferably Greek island wine made with the Fokiano or Mandilari grape
- 3 tablespoons grape molasses petimezi
- 2 cups fresh homemade tomato sauce or 2 tablespoons tomato paste diluted into 1 cup of water
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1 scant teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
- 2 large sprigs rosemary
- Season the rooster or chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear the rooster or chicken in batches, turning to brown on all sides. Remove with kitchen tongs and set aside.
- Drain off some of the fat in the pot, leaving about half a cup. Cook the onions in this until wilted and lightly browned. Add the garlic and stir around for a minute or so.
- Place the rooster/chicken pieces back in the pot. Pour in the red wine. As soon as it steams up a bit, add the grape molasses, tomato sauce or diluted tomato paste, additional salt and pepper to taste, oregano and rosemary. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 1 ½ hours, or until the meat is very tender. Remove and serve.
Chicken will take a little less time that rooster, which has tougher, darker meat.