Coq Au Vin

Coq Au Vin – it’s origins combine old world and new.

At Bistro Citron, our coq au vin is a fan favorite and we’ve made it our Tuesday night special for quite some time. It’s origins root back deep into ancient times, where chicken was braised with wine as a cheap and effective way to flavor meat. A cookbook from 1964 details a dish involving braising chicken in white wine. This may be the oldest written recipe and the precursor to the French classic. It’s important to note, however, that traditional coq au vin calls for the chicken to be simmered in red wine.

It’s not until the 1960s that coq au vin enters the American mainstream. Julia Child, who popularized French cooking as a whole in America, can be credited for introducing the dish to Americans via her popular television shows.

Making Coq Au Vin

So how can you make coq au vin at home?

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces diced pancetta
1 (3  or 4 lb) chicken, cut into 1/8ths
1/2 pound carrots
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
10 fresh thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven and cook the bacon over medium heat until brown. Remove the bacon and brown all of the chicken on both sides then set aside. Add carrots and onions to the Dutch oven and cook. Add the garlic and the cognac and continue cooking for another minute. Add the chicken, bacon,stock and red wine back to the oven and simmer with the thyme. Cover the pot with a lid and place in oven for 30 to 40 minutes until just not pink anymore. Remove from oven and place back on stovetop where you will mash in butter, flour and frozen onions. Add browned mushrooms and then simmer the stew for another 5 to 10 minutes. Season to taste.

Croissants

Ah, croissants.

Croissants are the brunch bread of choice and they have an interesting origin we thought we’d explore.

Croissants’ origins don’t begin in France. They begin in Austria. In 1683, Vienna was under attack from the Ottoman turks. The Turks attempted to starve out the Austrians inside the city but when this proved to take too much time, they decided to tunnel underneath the city. Bakers, working overnight, heard strange sounds under their city and alerted guards who were able to foil the Turks plans before it was too late.

When the Viennese finally overcame the seige, bakers across the city celebrated by baking crescent shaped pastries, mirroring the crescents on the invading armies flags. These crescents became popular and soon a ubiquitous treat in all of Austria.

When Austrian princess Marie Antoinette married Louis XVI of France, she missed her home country’s simple pastries. French bakers went to work to please her and the ‘croissant’ or ‘crescent’ in French, was born. As Queen, Marie Antoinette made these pastries a staple of the French court and soon after, bakers across France were creating them and refining them. They added fillings, flavors and as French cuisine poured into America, croissants came right along with it.

Interview with Chef Jerry Katzenberger

Originally published by Full Before Montauk

We spoke with Chef Jerry Katzenberger, Executive Chef of Bistro Citron, a treasure trove of traditional French cuisine Manhattan has warmly welcomed for years.

What made you want to be a professional chef? Was there a singular moment or a gradual discovery?

JK: From a young age I can remember rolling dough and peeling apples for grandma’s apple pie. I can remember waking up while it was still dark out to go to the meat market with my uncle to buy the meat for his Italian deli. I can still recall standing on the milk crates washing the pots after learning how to chop onions and smashing the garlic for a good sauce. My uncle would say “give the pot to the dishwasher”, well it turns out after looking around for the dishwasher, I was the dishwasher!

Dish washing wasn’t the only thing I got good at that summer. Turns out I was a decent cook, and could remember ingredients and recipes pretty well. It was that summer that I decided i wanted to become a Chef.  And to this day I still call my grandmother and uncle for their tried and true recipes, their insights and ideas.

“What I usually do” she says, or “what you need to do” he says has become me now – what I say when teaching my cooks saying “what I usually do”. It is the little things I’ve learned, the secrets left out of the recipe book, those memories and moments that motivated me and propelled me to be the Chef I am today.

What are the toughest challenges you face in the kitchen?

JK: Turnover of staff- most cooks in today’s kitchens are not there because they care or have any passion for cooking. They are there for a job only. Training a person that is just going to go through the motions, and most times without any care for the final product is frustrating.

What is your favorite thing to cook?

JK: Vegetables, everyone always seems to overcook or over season them. They are so easy to do and most people mess them up.

It is the little things I’ve learned, the secrets left out of the recipe book, those memories and moments that motivated me and propelled me to be the Chef I am today.

What style of cooking would you like to make that you’ve never tried?

JK: I would like to learn more about Asian or Indian cuisine. Both of those cuisines have so much history, and so many ingredients I don’t get a chance to work with in a French restaurant.

What’s your advice for an aspiring chef?

JK: Passion. Find your passion in the kitchen. Sometimes it will be hard, but just go back to why you decided to become a chef.

Put your head down and work, just do it. Nobody becomes a Chef over night.
Learn every little thing you can from everybody. Whether its a Chef, fellow cook, manager, everybody has at least one thing that you can take away. Even the extremely important, what “not”to do.

If you could cook for any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

JK:Hmm never thought about it. Guess would say my grandparents, still alive. I only get to see them maybe once or twice a year so I like to do a dinner when i can since they cant make it to my restaurant.

Learn every little thing you can from everybody. Whether its a Chef, fellow cook, manager, everybody has at least one thing that you can take away.

What do you like eat on your day off?

JK: Haha, what’s a day off?! I like to try different things. I try to go out to new places as often as I can. I like the local farm to table movement thats happening now. I like ramen, burgers, but my go-to is pizza, a slice, a pie, any day anytime. Oh, and cookies, chocolate chip of course, but most any will do.

What current chefs do you follow?

JK: Thomas Keller- Per Se, Daniel Boulud – Daniel, Daniel Humm – Eleven Madison Park, Seamus Mullen – Tertulia, Bill Telepan – Telepan

Upper West Side French Toast: It’s History

Upper West Side French toast – it’s origins.

With Bistro Citron now bringing the upper west side french toast, yogurt, pancakes and a variety of breakfast dishes, we thought it’d be interesting to explore it’s history and origin.

Called a variety of names, French toast may date back to Roman times. In the Apicius Roman cookbook, a recipe for bread dipped in milk is found. This may be the first recorded instance of French toast.

It was known to medieval cooks extensively as a way to make use of old bread. It’s French name, “pain perdu”, means “lost bread.” By dipping bread in the egg mixture, stale bread could be salvaged and used. For medieval people needing to feed their families with whatever was available, this was a life saving measure.

By the time French toast reached America, it had a variety of names like eggy bread, German toast and gypsy toast. In New York City, and especially on the upper west side French toast was made by Jewish people to preserve leftover challah bread from the Sabbath dinner. It’s origins as a breakfast and brunch item began here with this Sunday ritual.

Today, French toast is a popular choice for breakfast and brunch. And with Bistro Citron now serving the upper west side breakfast every weekday morning from 8am to 11:30am, it’s never been a better time!

 

Valentines Day

Valentines Day is Here!
Have a look at our specials for tonight!

If you are planning on going out to dinner for Valentines Day please consider joining us at Bistro Citron. This valentines day we are offering a wonderful selection of specials prepared by our skilled staff led by chef Jerry Katzenberger and served by our team led by Patricio Curillo. Please call us for availability and we hope to see you there. Joyeuse Saint Valentin!