We spoiled ourselves this week by making Coq au Vin served over Risotto. During these cold fall months, we’ve been braising, cooking with wine and roasting – creating rich and comforting classic dishes with wonderful sauces and flavours.
Here is a brief story about a first encounter with Coq au Vin from many years ago and our favourite recipe – which you can mix and match with readily available ingredients. A printable recipe card is provided at the end!
Viva Las Vegas
40 years or so ago, we took a company sponsored trip to Las Vegas and as a further reward for our successes, we were treated to one of it’s finest steak restaurants.
Out of character for the time, I ordered the Coq au Vin and still remember the chuckles and rolling eyes from my colleagues as they missed the subtle twinkle in the waiter’s’ eye as he commented; “very good choice sir”. My selection was obviously offered as an alternative for the non-steak enthusiast but without question the waiter nailed it, that dish was nothing less than spectacular. The tender chicken lathered in a mushroom, onion and wine sauce has resonated with me ever since.
Coq au Vin Origins
This dish has roots back to the days of Caesar but was made famous in the French Region of Burgundy in more modern times. Who would have thought that something hailed as “rooster cooked in wine” or the “classic peasant stew” could be so good; and like most classic or traditional fares, there are few recipes alike.
It can be enjoyed on a picnic table in your back yard or over white tablecloth to impress the richest of palates, but what makes it special is how easy it is to prepare with everyday ingredients. A keeper from 40 years ago…..Hail Caesar!
We served this dish over a creamy Risotto, but mashed potatoes, egg noodles or on it’s own are terrific options.
This dish is very simple to make and involves 4 steps.
1. Marinate the chicken
2. Sear the chicken and reduce the marinade
3. Create the soffritto and build the sauce
4. Add the chicken, simmer and braise.
Remember, this is just a stew after all. Just give it a try!
There is a recipe card at the end if you want to go straight to it!
How to Make Coq Au Vin
1. Marinate The Chicken:
You will need:
8 – 12 pieces of skin-on bone in chicken thighs and drums
We found four legs in the freezer – thawed and cut into drums and thighs. Cut knuckles off the drums if possible and trim excess fat and skin. On other occasions we have used a package of 8 chicken thighs or cut up one whole roasting chicken into pieces.
Pour 1 bottle of red wine (750 ml) into a large bowl – Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir is often used because it is the most common red wine from the Region of Burgundy. This time we used an Australian Shiraz because that’s what we had at hand. Any decent dry red will do. The rule of thumb is, if you like to drink it, it’s good to cook with.
(Note from Lillie – I was sad because this recipe used a whole bottle of wine and there was none for sipping!)
Add 1 Large Onion quartered and halved – white onion will work, red we had on hand
Add 2 bay leaves
Add 5 sprigs thyme – (fresh is nice – but dried herbs are just fine!)
Add chicken to bowl, cover and marinate in refrigerator for 3 hours.
Note: Marinade can be up to 24 hours. 3 hours works.
2. Sear the Chicken and Reduce the Marinade
Remove the chicken and onions – and pour marinade into a pot. Set chicken aside on paper towels. Reserve onions.
Place reserved marinade in pot over medium heat to reduce.. Bring wine and herbs to a slow boil and simmer until marinade is reduced to one half or one third.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper on all sides.
Saute 3 chopped thick slices bacon and then set aside.
Retain fat from bacon – add a little olive or vegetable oil if needed and sear chicken in same pot until brown on all sides. Set browned chicken pieces aside.
3. Create the Soffritto and Build the Sauce
Retain a few tablespoons of fat from the chicken browning- but just enough to saute the soffritto.
Add 3 garlic cloves finely minced
Add 1 cup carrots chopped
Add 1 cup celery chopped
(Celery and carrots are our secret ingredients – and are not traditional ingredients in Coq au Vin. We prepare a soffritto, – roughly chopped)
Add 1 large quartered onion
(Pearl onions are a more traditional ingredient in Coq au Vin, but we prefer to use one whole onion, quartered)
Saute garlic and soffritto vegetables for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms in last.
Add 2 cups Cremini or White mushrooms – thickly sliced
(the brown Cremini mushrooms have a slightly firmer texture – and when left in thick slices or even halved work nicely)
Stir in 1/2 cup tomato paste. Let cook for 3 minutes.
(we sometimes substitute a cup of marinara sauce when we are out of paste)
In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 cups beef broth with 1/3 cup flour until no lumps remain. Pour into pot with vegetables while stirring. Add 2 tablespoons butter.
Add reduced wine marinade back in with sauteed vegetables and gently stir sauce.
Add the bacon, chicken, reserved onion back into the sauce.
Bring mixture to a simmer on the stove, then place in preheated 350 degree oven, lid on for one hour. After 30 minutes remove lid.
Remove pot from the oven – and let stand for 15 minutes. Sample and season to taste if necessary.
We serve the chicken with a scoop of the soffritto over a creamy side dish – usually risotto but sometimes buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Add a bit of parsley or thyme for an accent.
Below is a printable recipe card from RecipesGenerator. Please give it a try!
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What does coq au vin mean?
Coq au vin means chicken in wine. Specifically, coq translates to rooster or male bird and vin is wine, so it can be translated to rooster in wine.
What do the French eat with Coq au Vin?
Deeply flavoured and saucy coq au vin is delicious with any neutral and starchy side – traditionally with mashed potatoes, risotto or crusty bread – or even buttered egg noodles.
What wine to use in Coq au Vin?
Coq au vin originates from the Burgundy region of France – so a red wine from that region will do such as a Pinot Noir,