I am a “Coq Pie”

If you were to sum me up in a dish, it would be something I call, “Coq Pie.” I call it that because it sounds dirty, and because it’s a high-low marriage of Coq Au Vin and Frito Pie.

My family is Czech, and the matrilineal line is the Kohouts, which is Czech for rooster (AKA: Coq), but please feel free to substitute chicken. My great-grandmother, an ethnic Bohemian, foraged for mushrooms, so they go in as well. Kohouts love pig, so add some bacon. Then there’s beef stock (liquid cow) to represent my small New England hometown, sometimes referred to as one of Massachusetts’, “five cow towns.”

My favorite childhood snack was tomato sauce on buttered garlic bread, so that means a butter and flour roux along with garlic and tomato paste. Then there’s thyme, which I always wish I had more of. Add fresh bay leaf: for that time I made a rub for the duck confit at work and it was finally revealed to me that those annoying leaves had actual, stunning, flavor.

No cognac. Whiskey. Usually bourbon. Usually Jack Daniels. Flambéed. I use Jack because it’s cheap, American, and it’s better if you set it on fire. I heard this step tenderized the rooster. Then I heard it was for caramelization. Then I heard it was all for show and did nothing. This string of stories and Apocrypha sounds a lot like me.

I use Burgundy wine because when I moved to LA, I didn’t have a TV. I could only watch DVDs. So I bought a Best Buy two-pack of Napoleon Dynamite and Anchorman and watched those two movies for four months straight. Ron Burgundy forever!

Onion is for that time I got high and slathered a rice-crispy treat in French onion dip, and now, mysteriously, I get random cravings for it.

Rooster meat (being tougher) gets braised. I am not tough, but I do enjoy long hot baths.

Usually, this dish is accompanied with whole potatoes, rice, or noodles. Not this version. Instead, fold over the top of a single serve size bag of Lays Potato Chips. Ladle that thickened braise right into the bag, and top it all with a herb salad.

Hot, delicious, dans le sac.

(If you’re interested in giving this a try, I highly recommend Julia Child’s recipe.)


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