Water. The reason of our existence. One of the most primordial ingredients for life to exist. Also, a particularly interesting tool in the kitchen.
As a scientist, the third chapter of Ruhlman’s Twenty was particularly fascinating to me since it talked about water – and its uses in the Kitchen. As a heat transfer media. As a solution media. To keep things from burning by diffusing the heat away. We could spend hours and hours just talking about water, how it works, why it works, and why it is essential to us. It is that interesting. It is that beautiful.
The recipe is from his book, and from his chapter, Coq au Vin (chicken in wine). Even with its fancy name and beautiful picture, coq au vin is actually a pretty simple recipe, developed in France to deal with old roasters and tough hens, when the meat was too hard and needed to be boiled for a while to be tenderized, and in wine to gain some flavor.
On one side, I roasted these chicken legs in the oven at 425F for twenty minutes. While those were roasting, I rendered the fat of some bacon and cooked onions and garlic in it. Then I added water and let it boil off at high heat; when it was almost all gone I brought the heat down and let the onions brown. The term is caramelizing, but since no sugar was involved i don’t feel comfortable using that term.