Coq Au Vin sounds pretty intimidating, until you realized it’s just Chicken In Wine…how hard that can be?  I’ll tell ya, it’s not hard at all, but it tastes so yummy and complex, you’ll be completely blown away!  Traditionally, coq au vin was made with old, tough chickens (that couldn’t lay eggs anymore) that needed to be braised a long time to make them tender.  These days, the chickens aren’t so old, but that long slow cooking still gives a ton of rich flavors that you can only get with time…and of course love!  It’s a one pot wonder that I love during the cooler months of Fall and Winter, but frankly, I’ll make it whenever the mood strikes me.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

To make the best Coq au Vin, just follow these few simple steps:

  1. Like most braises, you really want to brown the meat in the pan before adding the other ingredients.  That will render out the fat on the skin, as well as provide a much deeper, richer flavor for the stew.
  2. Use a good wine.  “Cooking” wine should be left at the store, never to be bought.  Don’t use anything that doesn’t taste good straight out of the bottle
  3. Use low temperature.  Even soaking in wine and stock, the chicken can dry out if you boil it…you should just have it on a very light simmer
  4. Use good stock.  Like the wine, it contributes quite a bit of flavor to the dish.  Ideally, it’s homemade, but a good quality store brand is great too.

Recipe for Coq an Vin

Ingredients (for 2 - 4)

  • 1 chicken cut into its parts
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped into 1 inch dice
  • 2 carrots chopped into 1 inch dice
  • 2 stalks celery chopped into 1 inch dice
  • 4 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 bottle good red wine
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 6 thick cut pieces of bacon, diced into inch squares
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch

Making the Coq Au Vin

  • Bring a large pot or dutch oven to temperature over medium high heat and then coat the bottom with olive oil
  • Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, and then lay in one layer in the pot (work in batches if you need to)
  • After 4 – 5 minutes, check the chicken, if browned, turn over, or if not yet browned, continue to cook, and then turn once browned
  • Add the bacon and cook until most of the fat in rendered out
  • Once the chicken & bacon are browned on all sides remove from the pan, along with all but a few tablespoons of the rendered fat
  • Add the carrots, onion, celery along with the garlic, season with salt and pepper, and sauté over medium heat until the onions are translucent and starting to brown on the edges
  • As the vegetables cook use a wooden spoon to scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pan
  • Add the thyme, as well as the chicken and bacon, and then cover by half with the red wine
  • Add enough stock to cover by about 90% and add the bay leaves, and cook for about 1.5 hours,, or until the chicken is very tender
  • While the chicken cooks (about an hour into the simmering) bring a sauté pan to temperature over medium heat, and coat with olive oil
  • Add the quartered mushrooms to the pan with salt and pepper, and sauté until well cooked, and browned on all sides
  • Add the mushrooms to the Coq au Vin about 15 minutes before it’s finished
  • Note – as an optional step, you may want to cook and replace the carrots that have been cooking with the chicken, as they are likely to be very cooked, and soft – it’s up to you, and how cooked you’d like your carrots
  • To thicken the sauce, dissolve the corn starch in a couple tablespoons of water, and slowly drizzle the mixture into the sauce stirring as you go, until the sauce is slightly thicken, about the consistency of a cream soup
  • I love to serve my Coq Au Vin, over polenta, but mashed potatoes, noodles or even rice, work great

Wine Recommendation for Coq au Vin  

I would serve whatever it is I used for the braising liquid...for me, that's a Burgundy!

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