Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin is a classic French stewed chicken recipe, with bacon, mushrooms, and pearl onions.

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Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

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.

Coq au Vin

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

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  • Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb bacon slices
  • 20 peeled pearl onions, or 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 6 whole, skin-on chicken legs (with thighs attached), about 4 pounds (excess fat trimmed)
  • 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 sliced or quartered
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Method

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 the bacon: Heat a Dutch oven large enough to hold the chicken on medium high heat. Add the bacon pieces and cook them until browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked bacon and set aside.

4 Brown the chicken and onions: Keep the bacon fat in the pan. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season all sides with salt and pepper.

Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken, skin side down, to the hot pan. Brown the chicken well, on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Add the onions and garlic and cook a few minutes more. Spoon off any excess fat from the pot.

5 Add chicken stock, wine, herbs, bacon, then simmer: Add the chicken stock, wine, and herbs. Add back the bacon. Lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is tender and cooked through. (A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken should register 165°F.)

Remove chicken and onions to a separate platter. Remove the bay leaves, herb sprigs, garlic, and discard.

6 Make a sauce with mushrooms: Add mushrooms to the remaining liquid and increase the heat to high. Boil quickly to 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. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve.

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

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Links:

Julia Child's Coq au Vin Recipe on Leite's Culinaria

Coq au Vin

Showing 4 of 42 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.

  • Deb

    Okay, I read a LOT of food blogs – you were my first and still are my favorite. I have cooked many wonderful things but only have written in ONE time to comment on a recipe that was as delicious as I dreamed it would be – your Hungarian Goulash with Dumplings. Now, we just finished eating this Coq au Vin and I had to write to you again to tell you how much we appreciate you and all that you (and your mom & dad) do for us. I envy all of you food bloggers your passion, energy and talent! I am an American living in France and if you’re ever in Nancy stop by for a drink and a bite.

    Thanks Deb, so glad you liked it! ~Elise

  • Michelle

    The liquid doesnt seem to want to reduce. What could I be doing wrong?

    I suggest turning up the heat. ~Elise

  • Sathi

    If you don’t like the skin, I would suggest you dredge the skinless chicken pieces in some all purpose flour mixed with salt, pepper and some herb seasoning and then shallow fry the pieces to a golden brown before adding the wine to it. This not only gives it a skin-like texture to it, but also seals in the juices and makes it more tender and moist. Also, the flour helps thicken the sauce as it cooks. I also throw in chunks of carrot or parsnip in the dish as I cook it and they cook beautifully. It may not be traditional, but is delicious!

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