Ooo la la! Gigi is lotsa fun. I can easily see why it won 1958’s best picture award. It was certainly the best of the bunch: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, too melodramatic–The Defiant Ones , too preachy–Separate Tables — uh, too, uh, ok, I never saw it. Auntie Mame –well, that would have been an ok pick, too. Cuz, I love Rosalind Russell, truly, I do. Gigi was also MGM’s last, big, big musical. And no one did musicals quite as big and quite as well as MGM. It was also shot on location (which was getting more common in the 50’s, but still unusual for a musical), in Paris. Great cast: no one does the charming roue quite like Maurice Chevalier. And Hermione Gingold is God’s gift to the musical comedy. And those Lerner and Loewe guys, not too shabby either. I actually caught a glimpse of the beautiful Leslie Caron on an episode of one of those Law and Order shows the other night. According to IMDB she’s about 76. She still looks great.
For dinner we did a traditional coq au vin–there are a lot of steps to this recipe, and you have to plan for it a day in advance. But it is so worth it!
For the marinade
• 4 stewing hen legs
• 1 bottle red wine
• 1 celery stalk
• 1 large onion
• 1 large carrot
• 1 head garlic, halved
• 1 bouquet garnie
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon peppercorns
For the braise
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 3 cups veal stock or chicken stock
For the garnish
• 1/2 cup pearl onions
• 4 ounces slab smoked bacon
• 1 cup domestic mushrooms (small)
• Chopped parsley
Using a sharp knife, separate the leg and thigh at the joint. Cut the onion, celery, carrots into medium dice and place in a bowl or large container. Marinate the legs with the vegetables, garlic, wine, bouquet garnie, peppercorns and bay leaves for 24 to 36 hours.
Strain legs, separate vegetables and reserve the wine. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven. Season the legs with salt and pepper, and brown evenly on all sides over moderate heat, about 8 minutes. Add vegetables, browning further for approximately 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and mix thoroughly. Add flour, reducing heat to avoid burning, and cook another 2 minutes.
Deglaze with reserved wine, stirring to loosen any caramelized bits stuck to the bottom. Add veal stock and bring to a simmer, cover, and cook in oven or over low flame for 1 hour or until the meat is very tender, approximately 1 hour.
Once cooked, remove the chicken legs and set aside. Strain and discard vegetables, reduce the sauce further if necessary, and adjust seasoning. Return the chicken legs to the sauce and add browned onions, mushrooms and bacon lardons, simmer another 15 minutes.
Serve, topped with chopped parsley and accompanied by buttered noodles, rice pilaf or mashed potatoes. And haricots verts make a nice green vegetable side.