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Coq au Vin

    10 ounces shallots, or 2 medium yellow onions, sliced or chopped
    2 tablespoons olive oil, more if needed
    6 ounces salt pork or pancetta in 1-inch cubes
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
    4 cups whole button mushrooms, or large mushrooms, halved
    3 1/2 - 4 pound roasting chicken, cut into pieces
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup brandy
    1 bottle Burgundy or other rich red wine
    1 bouquet garni (one 3-inch piece leek, one 3-inch piece celery,
       3 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme and a bay leaf, tied in
       cheesecloth)
    Salt and pepper.

  Bring a pot of water to a boil; pour water over shallots, then peel,
 and set them aside. Place a large casserole over medium heat and add
 olive oil and salt pork. Saute until pork begins to crisp, 3 to 4
 minutes, then add shallots. Continue to saute until shallots are
 lightly browned, about 10 more minutes. Transfer mixture to a large
 bowl with a slotted spoon; set aside the unwashed casserole.

  Place a medium skillet over low heat, and melt butter. Add garlic
 and mushrooms, and saute until mushrooms have softened. Add mushroom
 mixture with slotted spoon to salt pork and shallots.

  Place chicken pieces in a large freezer bag or a large bowl. Add
 flour, and toss until chicken is coated. Return casserole to
 medium-high heat, When pan is hot, brown chicken in batches, adding
 olive oil if pan looks dry. Do not crowd pan, and turn pieces as
 needed until well browned on all sides. Transfer chicken to a plate,
 and set aside.

  Shake any excess flour from freezer bag into casserole, and scrape
 bottom with a wooden spoon. Pour in brandy, then stand back and
 carefully ignite with a long match. Slowly stir in the whole bottle
 of Burgundy. Bring liquid to a boil. Return chicken to casserole, and
 add salt pork, shallots and mushrooms. Add bouquet garni, and stir to
 mix well. When liquid returns to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to
 low. Simmer for 1 hour, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
 Flavor improves if cooled and refrigerated overnight; reheat
 thoroughly before serving.