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… add some red wine, mushrooms, carrots et voilà—easy Coq au Vin.

so-easy coq au vinA friend living in the south of France was emailing about his experiences “making the real French coq au vin.” He had just returned from the local butcher with a rooster, complete with the cockscomb, feet, head and then I stopped reading. I have a rule that there will be no cockscombs or feet or heads in my house.

I watched Julie and Julia again this weekend and it got me thinking of Julia’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking (and coq au vin). In the forward she wrote, “This is a book for the servantless [hey that’s me!] American cook [that’s me!] who can be unconcerned on occasion with budgets, waistlines, time schedules, children’s meals, the parent-chauffeur-den-mother syndrome, or anything else which might interfere with the enjoyment of producing something wonderful to eat [that’s me too!].” Why didn’t I truly understand the importance of Julia Child before Julie Powell? I know, I know; trust me, I don’t have any delusions that I write like Julie, and who would have played me in the movie? (Really, who?)

I wondered why I didn’t have Le Creuset’s enameled cast-iron Dutch oven pot. It was fun to watch Amy Adams attempt Julia’s mastery, but there must be a simpler version of this peasant dish, and one that didn’t need a trip to Williams-Sonoma and $200 for a spur-of-the-moment purchase.

I found a recipe in BHG’s Skinny Slow Cooker issue. Killing two birds (or, in this case, chickens) with one stone, this recipe kept me honest with my New Year’s resolutions of KISS (keep it simple, Susan) and kept it healthy. I normally wouldn’t buy chicken thighs, but I wanted to follow the recipe exactly. The sticker price was shocking – eight chicken thighs for under $3. Even if it was completely non-edible, I wouldn’t cringe at the thought of throwing it out.

We always have bottles of red ready for uncorking and I happen to have herbes de Provence. If you don’t have the aromatic spice on hand, just mix up your own batch sans lavender (assuming you don’t have dried lavender in spice rack.) I won’t tell Julia. Substitute with a combination of basil, fennel seed, marjoram, rosemary, sage, savory and thyme.

So-Easy Coq au Vin was a simple, tasty-enough meal for Slow-Cook Sunday. Next time I might incorporate some more of Julia’s ingredients, including beurre manie (butter and flour) for the sauce, and cognac, and lardons. Julia said everything is better with butter, and I don’t doubt that this would be too. Although I’m sure the cognac and lardons help, but there goes the “lighter” version.

So-Easy Coq au Vin