Recipe – Coq au Vin

by john on March 1, 2003

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin (“Chicken with Wine”) is a classic dish worthy of the time required to make it right. The meat literally melts off the bone, the infusion of the chicken and the wine combining with a rich gravy that will keep your guests coming back for more. Serve it at special events or a family dinner – but be prepared for a little work as things this good take time. Recipe adapted from “Cooks Illustrated, January & February, 1999”.


3 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks, well trimmed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bottle (750ml) fruity red wine – Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir works well
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
6 ounces thick-cut smoked bacon, cubed
6-7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium shallots, peeled and quartered
2 medium garlic cloves, skin on and mashed
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, 10 parsley stems and 1 bay leaf bundled into a bouquet garni
1 1/2 teaspoon tomato paste
1 pound frozen pearl onions, thawed
1/2 pound small white button mushrooms
2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves


Generously sprinkle chicken pieces with salt and pepper, set aside. Bring red wine and chicken stock to boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until reduced to about 4 cups, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, fry bacon in a deep, heavy-bottomed sauté pan or better yet a Round French Oven from Le Creuset. Heat until fat has rendered and the bacon is a golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towel-lined plate to drain; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon butter with rendered bacon fat; add carrot, onion, shallots and garlic and saute until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer vegetables to reduced wine mixture (off heat), squeezing out as much fat as possible. Discard all but 1 tablespoon fat from French oven.

Return French oven to burner over medium-high heat and add another tablespoon of butter. When butter is melted, add chicken and cook until well browned all over, turning once or twice as necessary, for 12-16 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate; set aside. Pour off all fat from French oven; return to heat and add wine-vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add browned chicken, bouquet garni and tomato paste to boiling mixture; return to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently, partially covered. Turn chicken once or twice as necessary during cooking, until tender and infused with wine flavor, 60 minutes.

While chicken and sauce are cooking, heat another 2 tablespoons butter in medium sauce skillet over medium-low heat. Add pearl onions and cook for 5-8 minutes until lightly browned. Add mushrooms, season with salt, cover and cook for 5 minutes until mushrooms release their liquid. Remove cover, increase heat to high and boil until liquid has evaporated and onion and mushrooms are olden brown, about another 5 minutes. Transfer onions and mushrooms to plate with bacon; set aside.

When the chicken is cooked, transfer to platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Strain sauce through fine wire mesh sieve set over large bowl, pressing on solids with a spoon to release all the liquid. Sauce should measure 2-3 cups. Return sauce to pan. Counting 1 tablespoon each of butter and flour for each cup of sauce, mash 2 to 3 tablespoons each butter and flour in small bowl to make a beurre manié. Bring sauce to boil and whisk in beurre manié until thickened and smooth. Add reserved chicken, bacon, onions and mushrooms; adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer very gently to warm through and blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Check seasoning again and adjust if necessary; add parsley. Transfer chicken to serving plate; pour sauce over chicken. Serve immediately.


Blake Olson July 6, 2003 at 4:54 pm

I used your recipe for Coq au Vin to cater a ladies wine group (D’vine Women) and got rave review for it.
I am a subscriber to Cook’s Illustrated but my subscription does not go back that far so I appreciate your putting in on the WWW.

Carole July 10, 2003 at 9:14 am

Coq au vin was really mouthwatering enjoyed by so many of my friends and will certainly be passed a long as an all time chiken classic

anne October 9, 2003 at 4:40 pm

I have taste it and its great!

anne October 13, 2003 at 3:17 pm

uh.. this looks much different the we “prepare” it 😉

sgQ October 29, 2003 at 7:11 pm

pearl onion? RAFFISH

Mario Rodriguez November 13, 2003 at 1:48 pm

I,m a culinary art student and i would like to know about classical garmishes for this dish Coq Au Vin. Thanks

Debby Scanlan February 25, 2004 at 3:31 pm

Thanks for the recipe. I made it for my family several weeks ago and they really enjoyed it. I will be making it again tonight for company.

Jennifer Jarrell August 23, 2004 at 10:10 pm

Would there be an alternative to your Coq au Vin recipe as far as the bacon goes?

john August 24, 2004 at 12:07 am

Jennifer – I’ve made the recipe before without the bacon; simply omit that step and use more butter and you’ll still have a great dish.

David November 1, 2004 at 2:30 pm

My family doesn’t eat mushrooms, would it be ok to omit them or do you have something that I could substitute for them? I was planning to just omit it and add a few tablespoons of chicken stock instead. Any help to this dilemma is greatly appreciated.

James December 20, 2004 at 6:33 pm

I served this dish to friends and it went down very well. I lost the original printout and came online again to find this very one. Thanks for your helIt is better than any other Coq au Vin I tried and I was very proud to say I cooked it myself (sorry I didn`t let on it was from your recipe though). Maybe I should (or should I pretend I`m a food expert?). Hmmmmmmm

Mary January 26, 2005 at 11:45 pm

This was very tasty and very easy. I made it today as a dry run for a dinner for friends which I am now sure they will enjoy. I’m almost embarassed to serve it because it was so economical too!

Bagel Belly Blog May 16, 2005 at 5:18 pm

links for 2005-05-16

Coq au Vin Recipe – ProvenceBeyond (tags: recipes) Food Network: Coq au Vin (tags: recipes) John’s Jottings: Recipe – Coq au Vin (tags: recipes) “You’re the Chef” Recipe: Coq au Vin (tags: recipes) Coq Au Vin (tags: recipes) Coq…

Kimberly June 16, 2005 at 10:55 am

My daughter and I made this for her French Class in middle school. It was a hit!! One 8th grader came back 7 times for a refill. She got 100%.

Instead of using chicken quarters, we used chicken wings so that we would have enough to go around. I also used tomatoe sauce instead of the paste, and I increased the garlic.

Misty October 29, 2005 at 8:53 pm

Does anyone know how to make the fondue sauce from this recipe? I was thinking I would just make the sauce minus the chicken, but figured maybe I should ask.

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