Coq au Vin is one of our favorite “cold weather” dishes. The name “Coq au Vin” is actually french for “chicken cooked in wine, bacon, garlic and mushrooms”, and legends trace it back to ancient Julius Caesar! While the wine used is typically a Burgundy, I’ve seen recipes using all kinds of wine, even white. Sometimes the chicken is marinated in the wine, and other times, like in this recipe, it’s added to the pot with the chicken to cook a low and slow braise.
The word “coq” in French means “rooster”, but most recipes today call for a whole cut up chicken. I’ve tried it all different ways, and we prefer using bone-in (more flavor), skinless (less fat) thighs. Dark meat just holds up better to a slow braise without drying out like the white meat does. When I find bone-in thighs at my grocery store, they’re usually not skinless, but very easy to skin myself.
Coq au Vin
Adapted from Tyler Florence
- 4 slices bacon
- 8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup flour
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups pearl onions, peeled (I use frozen)
- 2 cups mushrooms
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup cognac or brandy
- 1 bottle Burgundy wine (can use any red wine that you like)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
- 3 bay leaves
- Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
In a large, heavy skillet or Dutch oven, fry the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Coat chicken pieces in flour, salt and pepper. Brown chicken in hot bacon fat on both sides. If there’s not enough bacon fat, add a little olive oil if needed. Remove chicken and add onions, carrots and mushrooms (See Liz’s Tidbits #1). Saute 3-4 minutes until they start to brown, then add chopped garlic and saute 1 more minute. Place chicken back into pan, and pour cognac into a small glass. REMOVE PAN FROM HEAT, (See Liz’s Tidbits #2) pour in cognac and put pan back on the flame. Flambe by lighting a long match and holding it just above the pot and light the fumes. The brandy will catch fire and the flames will burn out within 1 minute. When the flames die down, gradually stir in the wine and broth. When the wine is well blended, add the herbs. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue to simmer for 15 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce a bit. Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste or cornstarch to aid in the thickening process.
I like to serve my Coq au Vin on top of mashed potatoes. Top the chicken & vegetables with reserved crumbled bacon and fresh parsley.
1. While Tyler’s recipe calls for putting the mushrooms in at the beginning and letting them cook in the wine for an hour, I like to saute them in a little butter with salt & pepper during the last 15 minutes of cooking, then add them to the pot. In my opinion, their flavor and texture are better this way, and it keeps the mushrooms from turning an unappetizing purplish color (from the red wine).
2. Alcohol is VERY flammable. Be VERY CAREFUL when flambeing. Always remove your skillet from the fire, add cognac and then return to the flame. If you haven’t done this before, I highly suggest using either a long handled match or one of those long lighters. Stand back, light the cognac and watch it burn down. This will take about 3-4 minutes, so DON’T TURN YOUR BACK on the fire. Always keep a close eye on it!