Coq au Vin

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

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.

  • 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!

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