Coq au Vin

It’s French Week, or at least a few French themed posts for no reason other than I can.  French cuisine gets a pretty bad rap in popular culture, especially the Nouvelle Cuisine that was big in the 70s.  French cuisine, especially the more rustic French cuisine has a lot of similarities to Italian cuisine – really good quality ingredients treated to let them taste the best.  The French ethos seems to have a few more steps than the Italian ethos, but the end result is the same – delicious food that is easier than you think!

We started with a whole chicken to be used in at least three different dinners.  The breasts will be used in one dish, the thighs and wings in a second dish, and the scrapings of the carcass as part of a third.  The carcass itself is going to be used to make chicken stock.

This time, we are going to use the thighs and wings in a coq au vin.  Okay, I know it isn’t actually a coq au vin because I am not using an old tough rooster (“coq” en francais) but instead a chicken (“poulet”).  This is a braise, so long and slow, which is why the thighs are used since they will benefit more from that as well as add more flavor through the bones in them.  This is a long cooking time and somewhat involved recipe, so be warned.  The ingredient list is simple, but it will take time to get it all done. I didn’t take as many process pictures as I should have, so I accept a preemptive “Shame on me” now.


Coq au Vin

  • 1Lb Chicken, here we used the thighs and wings from our whole bird
  • 1/2lb Carrots (Optional)
  • 1/2 lb Mushrooms
  • 1/2lb Pearl onions or other onions (The pearl onions I had sprouted on me, so I quartered a whole onion)
  • 1/4lb Bacon or other cured pork lardons
  • 2 Cups Red Wine- Traditionally, this calls for a Burgundy wine, but I used a pinot noir as burgundy is made from pinot noir grapes and I didn’t feel like the extra expense)
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • Bouquet Garni (Bay Leaf, Tarragon, Parsley Stems)

Coq au Vin Mis en place

  1. Place chicken in a sealable plastic bag for a quick marinade with one cup of red wine.
  2. Complete mis-en-place while chicken absorbs a little wine based goodness.
  3. Render fat from your bacon in a medium or large frying pan. Remove the bacon and set aside.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade, reserving wine, and brown the chicken in the rendered bacon fat.
  5. While the chicken is browning, cook the mushrooms briefly in a separate frying or saute pan.
  6. Remove the chicken and let it rest.  Place onions and the optional carrots in the rendered bacon grease and cook, stirring occasionally.
  7. Layer the mushrooms, onions, optional carrots, and bacon into a casserole or other large pot.  Place chicken on top of the bed of veggies.  Add the reserved wine, a little fresh wine, the chicken stock, and the bouquet garni.  Bring the casserole to a boil and reduce to low, partially covering for an hour and a half.  Alternately, you can bring it to a boil and remove to a pre-heated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for an hour to an hour and a half.
  8. Check the chicken by making a small incision in the thigh to see if the juices run clear. Remove the chicken to a warming plate tented with foil or back in the oven and strain the casserole, reserving the liquid.
  9. You have chicken, you have vegetables, but lastly we will now prepare the sauce.  Taste the reserved braising liquid to check for seasoning and place half the liquid in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to get the consistency that you want. Monte au buerre (whisk in a pat of butter) for a velvety rich sauce.
  10. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.

Coq au Vin