Making a lighter coq au vin before it gets too hot

As the warm afternoons return to Central Texas, we are less likely to be roasting, braising and stewing.

But if you find yourself with the desire to make one more roast chicken before the summer heat settles in, perhaps for Mother’s Day or a Sunday supper this month, consider this coq au vin blanc from Justin Chapple, the culinary director of “Food & Wine” magazine who has a new book out this week.

Instead of using the traditional red wine for this dish, Chapple takes the lighter route by using white wine. “I love the acidity and tang it lends to the chicken and mushrooms,” he writes.

Coq au Vin Blanc

When it comes to cooking chicken, there are three essential techniques: roasting, grilling and, the least appreciated, braising. That brings me to coq au vin, which is one recipe I firmly believe every home cook must conquer. Not because it’s a classic but because it teaches you the benefits of braising — ultra-tender meat infused with whatever flavors you choose.

— Justin Chapple

2 thick-cut bacon slices, chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 whole chicken legs (about 2 3/4 pounds)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut into 1½-inch lengths

2 medium celery ribs, cut into 3/4-inch pieces on an angle

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 1/2 cups dry white wine

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as cremini and oyster, cut into 1-inch pieces

Chopped fresh parsley and tarragon, for sprinkling

Crusty bread, for serving

In a large deep skillet, cook the bacon in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned but not crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a plate.

Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Add half the chicken to the skillet, skin-side down. Cook over medium heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Spoon off all but about 2 tablespoons of fat from the skillet. Add the onion, leek, celery and garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the bacon and then nestle the chicken in the sauce. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is very tender, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes, until tender and lightly browned.

Transfer the chicken to plates or shallow bowls. Stir the mushrooms into the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce and vegetables around the chicken. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and tarragon and serve with crusty bread.

— From "Just Cook It!: 145 Built-to-Be-Easy Recipes That Are Totally Delicious" by Justin Chapple (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30)

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