Coq au Vin

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

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Ingredients

  • 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

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 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

  • Nina

    My mother coming from the french-speaking part of Belgium, she sometimes cooked coq au vin for the family. But until recently, I had never tried to cook it myself. When I found this recipe here, I decided to give it a try. And I must admit that I liked it even better than my mother’s version of this classic dish!

    Blanching the bacon worked out fine, and the sauce was way better and the taste more intense than I remembered it (I used a Bordeaux, by the way). Very good!

    Thanks, Nina (from northern Germany)

  • Sheeijan

    I made this tonight using a lovely zinfandel from Edmeades. The chicken turned out very dark (almost purplish), which made my husband suspicious, but it tasted just fine. Blanching the bacon made a difference, I think, and wasn’t too hard a step all things considered. I think it took me about 1 1/2 hours all told to make this, for those who might be wondering. The boiling at the end to a saucy consistency took longer than I thought it would. One of the better coq au vin recipes I’ve tried, and one I will be doing again.

  • John

    Great recipe, and it scales down quite easily as well. I tried it with just one boneless chicken breast and Merlot for the wine.

    Only one problem. I ate half the bacon while going through the remainder of step 2!

  • chas

    Can anyone tell me what the best Dutch oven size and shape is for coq au vin and similiar dishes?

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