For the first Cookbook Wednesday after months of inactivity, I've chosen the cookbook Impressionist Picnics by food historian Gillian Riley.
|Renoir: The Luncheon of the Boating Party (1880-1881)|
Renoir, she writes, would enjoy summer weekends on the river with his friends, including his future wife Aline Charigot (wearing a straw hat in the painting above). Riley continues:
|Renoir: The Inn of Mother Anthony (1866):|
the image on the page with Coq au Vin, as
mentioned in the quoted passage.
"The food was that of the new, fashionable Parisian restaurants, very different from the traditional cooking of country inns like the Auberge of Mère Antoine at Marlotte near Fontainebleau where, back in the 1860s, Renoir had painted a group of young artists in a rustic, unsophisticated setting. A familiar lament was already becoming heard in the land for those unspoilt little places now ruined by trippers, where simple food and a glass of the patron's wine were being replaced by sophisticated menus and décors." (page 17)
Impressionist Picnics is mainly interesting for the images of paintings and the artists' biographic details it offers. However, it does contain recipes, and I chose to make Riley's recipe for Coq au Vin as it appears in the Renoir chapter. When planning how to make the dish, I also checked the Julia Child version of this classic in my much-used copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. You can find the recipe online here courtesy of WGBH, the TV station that originally ran "The French Chef" beginning over 50 years ago.
No matter how you make coq au vin, it's a labor-intensive dish involving several pots and pans and a lot of time. My total time was something like 3 hours. I began by cutting up a whole chicken. I simmered the backs, wing tips, etc. along with some aromatic vegetables, herb stems, water, and half a bottle of red wine as directed. Then reduced that stock. And this is the quick way.
|After frying pancetta in the pan, one sets the crisp bits aside and|
continues by frying chicken parts in the same pan.
|My separately browned mushrooms and onions here waiting in the pan|
until it's time to add them to the sauce. Green peas are a side dish
allowed by Julia Child.
|Cookbook Wednesday is inspired by|
Louise at Months of Edible Celebrations
One reason I wanted to use the Impressionist theme for the return of Cookbook Wednesday is that the theme of the book, with its many Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings, connects to a theme I've been exploring recently -- click to see these posts: