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Coq au Vin

If, this weekend, you were looking for the perfect winter dish to spend a long afternoon preparing, one that will drive you mad with its luxuriously rich smells – red wine, butter, onions and bacon – this is your answer. Coq au Vin is the alpha and the omega of stews. There’s really no two ways around that. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a stew as perfectly supple, deeply-bodied, or intrinsically wintry as this. Of course, you will have to work for your stew. There are a lot of steps. I have lately found myself preferring less fuss where the kitchen is concerned, and this is a little bit more fussy. But don’t let that deter you, because it is undeniably worth it. The rewards are beyond compare. Sundays in January were made for making Coq au Vin.

I did not employ a coq in this Coq au Vin, but that is immaterial. I also did my best to reduce a couple of steps. Namely, I ditched the pearl onions. Pearl onions are fussy, and the only value they add to this is in the aesthetic. (And I could not find any frozen.) I also did not dredge the chicken in flour. I cut the butter by about half. I did not get slab bacon.

Coq au Vin
Also of note: The Amateur Gourmet has a really thorough, detailed visual breakdown of the process that is highly worth a visit. (Recipe linked below.)

adapted from The Amateur Gourmet

4-5 pound chicken, separated by wings, thighs, legs, breasts, rinsed, patted very dry, and generously salted and peppered. (Here’s a demo on carving a chicken.)
4 slices thick-cut bacon
1 bottle dry red wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 bay leaf

For the garnish:
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
12 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
fresh parsley

1. Place the bacon in a cold Dutch oven or similar large, heavy-bottomed pot. Cook over medium heat, turning as needed, for about ten minutes. You want it to be somewhat browned but retain some of the fat. Don’t cook it to a crisp. Remove the bacon, chop roughly, and set aside.

2. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Give the pot a few minutes to heat more. Have your chicken ready to go. Make sure it’s nice and dry, as this is what you will need in order to get that lovely brown crust when you sear it.

3. Place half the chicken (one each wing, thigh, drumstick, breast) in the pot and leave it alone for about five minutes. To get that crust, you don’t want to jostle the meat at all. After about 5 minutes, flip each piece, and repeat. If it hasn’t developed a really nice brown sear, leave the meat in for a little longer.

4. Take the first batch of chicken from the pot, and repeat step 3 with second half.

5. If you have a lot of excess fat in the pot, spoon the extra out, being careful not to remove any brown bits.

6. Reduce heat to medium, and add a tablespoon of butter. Add the onion and carrot, and saute, stirring some, for about five minutes.

7. Add the tomato paste and stir. Carefully add the cognac, deglazing the pot with it. Scrape all that yummy stuff from the bottom, and saute for another few minutes to reduce the liquid.

8. Raise the heat a little again, and add the bottle of wine, garlic, thyme, parsley and bay leaf, and bring to a boil.
Simmer until liquid has reduced by half, about 15-20 minutes.

9. Add the bacon and the chicken stock and stir. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid for your second batch of onions.

10. Return the chicken to the pot. Amateur Gourmet suggested a certain order, but I didn’t find that necessary.

11. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to very low on your stove, and simmer, undisturbed, for 45-60 minutes. You want the meat to be incredibly tender, but not quite falling off the bone. (Mine started to fall off the bone, no big deal.)

12. While your chicken is braising, prepare the garnish. Heat one tablespoon butter in a medium pan over a medium flame. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes.

13. Add the reserved braising liquid, season to taste with salt and pepper, and saute until most of the liquid has been reduced, about 10 minutes or so. Remove onions from heat and set aside.

14. Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add the mushrooms and saute until the liquid has cooked off, another 10 minutes, roughly. Turn off heat, return onions to the pan, mix together and set aside.

15. Check on the chicken. If it’s ready, turn off heat and skim any fat if necessary. Add the mushrooms and onions to the braise, stir.

16. Ladle this luscious stuff into bowls, garnish with more parsley, and enjoy!

PS: The flavors will improve overnight.

  • Darcy - I seriously have a coq au vin recipe marked in my new cookbook as a “to make.” Yours looks so deliciously amazing, I am extra inspired!ReplyCancel

    • kimberley - I am completely enamored with Coq au Vin! Which new cookbook?ReplyCancel

  • Minda - This is a beautiful dish! The flavours are exquisite! Well doneReplyCancel

  • Lynda - Coq au vin is one of my favorite winter stews. Lovely photo!ReplyCancel

  • deana@lostpastremembered - I haven’t made this since last winter… what with the snow.. I can’t think of a better dish for this weather… lovely recipe and photo!ReplyCancel

  • Tweets that mention Coq au Vin » The Year In Food -- - […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rebecca : ), audreybayley. audreybayley said: Coq au Vin » The Year In Food: If, this weekend, you were looking for the perfect winter dish to spend a long af… […]ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - Such a gorgeous looking stew! I agree, winter Sundays were definitely made for dishes like this.ReplyCancel

  • Brandi - i want to eat that so badly right now!ReplyCancel

  • kimberley - Thanks Minda!
    @Lynda: Your Coq au Vin is just lovely!
    @deana: it is most definitely perfect for this cold weather.
    @Nicole: Indeed! And thank you.
    @Brandi: If you lived down here, I’d invite you over posthaste!ReplyCancel

  • Designhotdog - Last weekend I made Pho Beef. This weekend I will try this.
    Stews and soups taste great in this weather, especially with stalk done right. Beautiful food photography as well. thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Maren - Wow. This looks amazing. Do you think this recipe could be adapted to make in a slow-cooker?ReplyCancel

    • kimberley - Hi Maren, I am almost certain that this can be adapted for a slow cooker. Perhaps you can try a quick search on google. Good luck!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - Just wanted to say thanks for a great recipe! This is tonight’s dinner and I can’t wait to eat it!

    Also, I am using my slow cooker for the braising portion of the recipe. I used the traditional stove top method through step 9 then poured the liquid and veggies into the slow cooker and added the chicken pieces. I have it in there on high for 5 hours. We’ll see how it turns out, but I think it should be just about right based on other recipes I’ve done with that programming.ReplyCancel

  • BohemiaJewellery - This is just the sort of thing we love eating on a winter’s evening, with a good bottle of Barolo….Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Coq au vin ??? ??????? ?? ??????? « ????????? ????? ? ????? ????? ???? - […] Coq au vin, ?????????? ?? […]ReplyCancel

  • LINDA - The changes you made to this recipe turn it into something else, not coq au vin. And you left out flaming the cognac. Careful when you fool with a classic. The proper way of handling the “bacon” and the omission of the onion are huge changes and not for the good.ReplyCancel

  • somluck - ????????????ReplyCancel

  • Kimberley - @LINDA, I respectfully disagree. Creatively changing recipes brings new life to food in the kitchen. I understand where you’re coming from, but food grows and changes as culture does.ReplyCancel

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