Coq au vin: Eating purple meat

About making coq au vin, Mom warned me: It's not so bad, except peeling those damn little onions.

Our generation of cooks-with-airs wields knives emboldened by the power of the Internet. (On the odd chance that you might not be able to live another minute without knowing how to peel pearl onions, here you go.) Braised pearl onions are a sweet-savory revelation and worth the fuss. Use frozen and you'll find yourself transported to the Furr's Cafeteria of your memory.

I followed Julia's recipe to the letter. And for the first two-and-a-half hours of preparation had a grand time, sauteeing, buttering, braising, blanching, beurre manié-ing. Well into the third hour, I thought, "It's a flippin' chicken! Enough with the layering of flavors, already."

Yes, it was delicious. Rich and velvety, humble--just chicken, wine and vegetables--but elegant enough to serve to company, which we did. With wild rice, a hazel-nut-and-arugala salad (thanks, Patricia) and organic peach cobbler. And, yes, more wine.

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