Coq au vin was one of the first dishes that Jamie Geller learned to cook. As she tells it, her mother-in-law taught her how to gently simmer chicken in red wine sauce shortly after her wedding. The recipe in her new cookbook, Joy of Kosher, is a version of that dish—the chicken and red wine remain the same, but Geller has added slices of flavorful veal (or chicken) sausage to the mix. Mushrooms and pearl onions complement the meat, for an elegant yet easy dish.
Why I picked this recipe: Is sausage and coq au vin a thing? I had never heard of it before, so I was game to try it.
What worked: The smooth, fruity merlot makes a fine sauce for the tender chicken and mild sausage.
What didn't: I've never been a big fan of braised chicken breasts, and this preparation didn't really change my mind. They still end up on the dry side.
Suggested tweaks: This recipe is Kosher for Passover as written. If you have a favorite cut of chicken, you could 3 to 3 1/2 pounds of that cut instead of the whole chicken (I'd probably use 3 1/2 pounds of whole legs next time). Unless you're using a giant Dutch oven, you will likely need to brown the chicken in batches.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, SFoodie, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.