International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Coq au Vin

Coq au vin French chicken in red wine

(French chicken braised in wine)

Image Creative Commons by Nathan Yergler

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Coq au vin is a classic winter dish from the Bourgogne region of France. Use a burgundy, Beaujolais, or any young, full-bodied red wine for this warming braised chicken dish.

For true, authentic coq au vin, an over-the-hill rooster (coq) was traditionally used for this dish. The old bird required a long cooking time to become tender.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Chicken, cut into serving pieces -- 3 pounds
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Flour -- 1/2 cup
  • Butter -- 2 tablespoons
  • Oil -- 1 tablespoon
  • Bacon or salt pork, rinsed and chopped -- 2 pieces
  • Pearl onions, peeled (see notes) -- 2 cups
  • Mushrooms, quartered -- 2 cups
  • Cognac or brandy (optional) -- 1/4 cup
  • Red wine -- 3 cups
  • Garlic, crushed (optional) -- 3 cloves
  • Sugar -- 2 teaspoons
  • Bay leaf -- 1
  • Thyme -- 1 teaspoon
  • Rosemary -- 1 small sprig
  • Parsley, chopped -- 1 tablespoon
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Butter -- 2 tablespoons

Method

  1. Dry the chicken pieces off with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Place the flour on a plate and dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, shaking off any excess.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium flame. Add the bacon or salt pork and saute until cooked through. Add the pearl onions and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes, or until cooked down. Remove all the ingredients in the pot to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Add a little more oil to the pot and brown the chicken pieces on all sides, one small batch at a time, removing the finished batches to a plate.
  4. Add chicken back to the pot, pour in the cognac or brandy and cook until mostly evaporated (flame it off if you like). Add the red wine, garlic, sugar, herbs, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 1 hour.
  5. Stir the bacon-onion-mushroom mixture back into the pot and simmer for another 30 minutes.
  6. Skim off any excess fat. Remove the chicken pieces from the sauce to a large, warm serving bowl. If needed, turn the heat to medium-high and boil the sauce to reduce its volume down and thicken it a bit. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the final 2 tablespoons of butter.
  7. Adjust seasoning to taste, pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with boiled potatoes or hot, buttered noodles.

Coq au Vin Variations

  • Coq au Vin Blanc: Use white wine instead of red. If you use a Riesling, you make coq au Riesling. Champagne gives you coq au Champagne.
  • To peel pearl onions, blanch them for 1 to 2 minutes in boiling water. Drain and rinse with cold water. The peels should pop right off. You can sometimes find peeled pearl onions in the frozen section at the supermarket. They are very convenient.

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