Coq au Vin

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Coq au Vin is a classic French dish of chicken cooked in red wine, a surprisingly easy way to make delectable chicken. I consulted recipes from several sources to make this one. One tip in particular from Julia Child is to blanch the bacon slices first. We didn’t do this the first time we made it and the result was almost too salty. So, next time we blanched the bacon. It removes some of the saltiness from the bacon before you cook with it.

Coq au Vin Recipe



  • 1/2 lb bacon slices
  • 20 pearl onions, peeled, or 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 lbs chicken thighs and legs, excess fat trimmed, skin ON
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups red wine (pinot noir, burgundy, or zinfandel)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Several fresh thyme sprigs
  • Several fresh parsley sprigs
  • 1/2 lb button mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


1 Blanch the bacon to remove some of its saltiness. Drop the bacon into a saucepan of cold water, covered by a couple of inches. Bring to a boil, simmer for 5 minutes, drain. Rinse in cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Cut the bacon into 1 inch by 1/4 inch pieces.

2 Brown bacon on medium high heat in a dutch oven big enough to hold the chicken, about 10 minutes. Remove the cooked bacon, set aside. Keep the bacon fat in the pan. Working in batches if necessary, add onions and chicken, skin side down. Brown the chicken well, on all sides, about 10 minutes. Halfway through the browning, add the garlic and sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. (Note: it is best to add salt while cooking, not just at the very end. It brings out the flavor of the chicken.)

3 Spoon off any excess fat. Add the chicken stock, wine, and herbs. Add back the bacon. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove chicken and onions to a separate platter. Remove the bay leaves, herb sprigs, garlic, and discard.

4 Add mushrooms to the remaining liquid and turn the heat to high. Boil quickly and reduce the liquid by three fourths until it becomes thick and saucy. Lower the heat, stir in the butter. Return the chicken and onions to the pan to reheat and coat with sauce. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Serves 6. Serve with potatoes or over egg noodles. Peas make a good side for this dish.

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Showing 4 of 40 Comments

  • Bree

    This is my first time commenting on your blog Elise, but this is certainly not the first recipe I have tried. I love your site and should comment more often. I love the new ideas I get, and I certainly appreciate the great step by step instructions when I’m trying new techniques. Your photos are also fabulous!

    I made this for the fourth? fifth? or something time tonight. It is delicious and I think this time it turned out the best. I didn’t blanch the bacon, simply because I was lazy. I didn’t find it overly salty, though I didn’t add any extra salt. I used a whole chicken that I cut into pieces (first time trying that). I served it with egg noodles. I found it relatively easy to make. Highly recommended dish.

  • Rosalyn

    The definition of the word “coq” is male, i.e. the rooster is used to create the traditional coq au vin recipe, otherwise it’s just a chicken casserole and not a true coq au vin.

  • Yvonne

    This is a great recipe but how do I get the skin to be crispy again after I cook it? It is crispy when I brown it but then after cooking it in the chicken stock and wine it becomes a bit soggy. How to I get it to regain that nice crispy skin?

    You don’t. It’s sort of stew-like, which means no crispy skin. ~Elise

  • Carl

    I love your blog, I refer to it all the time. First time making this and it was great. I noticed Julia Child’s and Alton Brown’s version called for tomatoes…hmm, I might try that next time.

    I did use lardons because I can get them them here easily. I did the par boil thing and it took too much of the fat out. Guess I did it too long.

    Mine didn’t stick at all- for those of you with that problem- make sure you get a decent quality Dutch oven like Staub or Le Cruset and get it up to operating temp before frying the chicken. It’s nice stuff, lasts a lifetime, and worth the cost if cooking is really your hobby as it is for me.

    I didn’t have a problem with purple chicken either- add the stock first then the wine and use a real Burgundy. A true burgundy has a light body and won’t stain your chicken. Also- it goes great with the meal- I used a nice one from Beaune that was six euros a bottle. Very drinkable.
    Eet Smaaklijk,
    The Hague

  • Lew

    Made a half recipe using 4 thighs (there’s just my son and me). I’ve had this dish in restaurants and I must admit, this version is as good as they get. It’s probably healthier too since you get to control the amount of sodium and fats. To change things up, I used rigatoni (because it’s big and “meaty”) instead of egg noodles. Red wine was Chianti. Thanks to the many excellent recipes on this website, I always have fresh thyme and flat leaf parsley on hand so the only unique ingredient I needed was pearl onions.

    Going off topic, I figured out how to keep parsley fresh in the refrigerator for a month or more. Purchase the freshest bunch you can find and when you get it home, cleanly trim the stems using a very sharp knife (I remove about an inch off the bottom and keep the bundle together with a rubber band). Find a plastic container about 3-4 inches in diameter and about 4 inches tall, take a paper towel and fold into quarters and stuff it flat inside the container bottom. Add clean water to moisten the towel plus 1/4 inch of standing water. (I recycled a prepared icing container.) Place the parsley into the container so the freshly cut ends are in contact with the water and paper towel. Tent the “flower pot” using a produce/fruit plastic bag (special green color keep-fresh bags featuring microscopic holes). Closed end on top and open end on bottom. Don’t seal the bag, just let the open end rest on the refrigerator shelf. As you use the parsley, pick off any yellowed leaves and stems then change the water or paper towel as needed. If you can’t find the special keep fresh bags, you can use the grocery store plastic produce bag as the tent — however leaves that touch the plastic will yellow quickly so wrap or drape the parsley bundle top with a paper towel before tenting.

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