Coq Au Vin

Coq au Vin is a classical French dish that means “rooster cooked in wine”. According to a legend, Caesar prepared this dish when he was battling the Gauls. The French sent him a rooster as a sign of affront. Intrepid, Caesar decided to cook it with wine and herbs and invited them to taste it! If only all negotiations could be that audacious! ;)

The original recipe is with red wine but different regions use different wines like Riesling or even Champagne. It is a slow braised rooster recipe but today’s tender chicken requires less cooking time! It is better to marinate the chicken for a little while; just a couple of hours are enough.

In some ways it is the poultry equivalent to the Boeuf Bourguignon. Same ingredients and techniques but different sorts of proteins.
Traditional recipes call for “blood” to be added when finalizing the sauce. I chose to replace that with a little bit of tomato paste: it gives the sauce a richer texture.

Do not season heavily your dish before the sauce thickens. You can aways add but it will be impossible to remove excess salt! When you reduce the sauce, the flavors will deepen and enhance. Safely correct the seasoning only after the sauce has reached the right consistency.

As all hearty meals, the coq au vin tastes even better the next day!
We fight for leftovers.

Bon appetit!



Recipe credits: Rafaella Sargi
Serves 6 to 8

8 chicken thighs (bone in and skin on)
2 chicken breasts (bone in and skin on)
One bottle of red wine
1 bouquet garni
8 oz bacon, chopped
2 tablespoon butter
8 oz white button mushrooms, cleaned and cut in halves
2 cup frozen pearl onions
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
1/2 cup brandy
2 teaspoons tomato paste
3 cups chicken stock
3 bay leaves
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Prep all the ingredients.
You will need one large ziploc bag, one medium bowl lined with paper towels, a slotted spoon, one baking sheet lined with paper towel, one large pot with a lid, a small bowl, aluminum foil and one oven safe serving dish.

A couple of hours before cooking let the chicken marinate in a ziploc bag with the wine and a bouquet garni.*
Remove the marinated chicken and place it on a baking sheet lined with paper towel. Pat dry the chicken and season with salt. Keep the wine but discard the bouquet garni. 

In a large pot, over medium high heat, cook the diced bacon until it renders a majority of its fat and starts crisping up. Remove the cooked bacon and let it drain in a medium bowl lined with paper towels and discard the bacon fat. In the same pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and cook the mushrooms until their water evaporates. Remove and set aside with the prepared bacon. Now it’s time to sauté the pearl onions until lightly golden, yes, in the same pot, then set aside.
Roast the chicken until golden on both sides. Work in batches if the pot does not hold all the chicken pieces in one layer (it is important not to overcrowd the pot because you are looking for a nice sear). Once the chicken is golden, remove it from the pot and let it rest on the baking sheet lined with paper towel; it will drain out the fat excess. Set aside. (This step is to sear the chicken only. It will have the opportunity to cook through later on in the recipe.)

Deglaze the pot with the red wine (used to marinated the chicken) and brandy. Dissolve the tomato paste in the chicken stock and add the mixture to the pot. Add the chicken pieces, bacon, mushrooms, pearl onions, bay leaves and fresh thyme. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and let it cook covered for 40-45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Heat the oven to 300F (150C).

Remove the cooked chicken, bacon and vegetables and place them in a oven safe serving dish. Cover with aluminum foil and keep it in the hot oven.

Bring the cooking liquids to a boil. Mix two tablespoons of room temperature butter and flour. Add a little bit of the sauce the liquify the butter / flour mixture then add it to the pot. Let it boil for a few minutes. This addition will allow the sauce to thicken. Taste and correct seasoning.
When the sauce is ready and silky, remove the chicken from the oven and pour the sauce on top.
Serve hot by itself or with a side of pasta, rice, potato puree or a simple slice of crusty bread (to catch all the delicious sauce of course!!)


*You can also let it marinate refrigerated, overnight, if you’re not in a hurry.