French lessons and Friends


Well a couple of weekends ago, I got to make one of my most favorite Fall meals: Coq au Vin- fancy french chicken stew cooked in wine with bacon, pearl onions, and mushrooms. Now, this stew is not something you just throw together- the cooking itself is an event – so to get more mileage out of it I invited a friend over for dinner, and since my eldest daughter is taking French –  she’d get extra credit for her class if we documented the recipe and her cooking. Win, win, win!

Okay, to make this little family and friend event a success it all starts with the recipe. I like   Ina Garten’s- here’s the link :

Ina Garten’s Coq au Vin

Now her instructions say the recipe takes 1 1/2 hours from start to finish. I however have never completed the meal in under 2 1/2 hours. So perhaps, Ina knows something I don’t, actually I’m sure Ina knows many things I don’t – but nonetheless, I’d say it will take somewhere between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 hours to get this to your table. It is also helpful if you have and assistant. The recipe is not particularly hard, but it seems many things have to happen at the same time or right after one another. Another set of hands makes for a happier cook! Also, if you are over 21 – I’d recommend drinking the left over wine while you cook the chicken in wine. Again a happier cook!

It was a cold rainy Autumn day, the perfect day for hanging inside with the family. I really enjoyed cooking with my daughter and chit chatting as we worked. Any chance I get to spend some alone time with my daughter is a happy day, and if she gets extra credit in French for doing it, we are both happy!


So toiling and chatting and drinking away ( me not her!) we had a lovely time as the Coq au Vin simmered first in the oven and then on the stove top.


To complete the meal, we added some crusty bread to dip in the sauce and a Pinot Noir. Since my best friend since high school was coming over for dinner, we set out the fancy china, the gold flatware, the linen napkins, and our very best acrylic stemless wineglasses – in case the wine went to our heads!


The meal was delicious, the company was fantastic, and the little girl got an A+. Not bad for a regular rainy Saturday. Life is full of happy moments big and small, it only takes a moment to notice.

xoxoxo Shawn




About Hull's Happiest Days Designs

Hello, I'm Shawn Hull half of Hull's Happiest Days Designs. Our blog focuses on family, everyday happy moments, celebrations, and recipes. Our business creates lovely handmade gifts celebrating home, family, and life's milestone moments. Please follow our blog and take a look at our website or clicking on my picture above:)
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