Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin is the classic French braised chicken dish with bacon, mushrooms, onions and of course, red wine. The chicken is tender and moist and the sauce that results is luscious and rich. It's a soul-satisfying meal for any time of the year, but really hits the spot in the fall and winter.

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The number one question people have when it comes to making coq au vin is “what wine should I use?” My first answer to that is “use a wine that you like because you’re using only 2 cups and it would be a shame to pour the rest of the bottle away.” 😉 All joking aside, it is important to use a wine that you like. If you don’t like the flavor of the wine (or any ingredient for that matter), why would you put it in your food? If you’re like me, however, that answer doesn’t really narrow down the options. So, the next thing to consider when choosing your wine is where the dish originated. Coq au vin is a classic dish from Burgundy, so it makes sense to go with a Burgundian wine. The most common red varietal from Burgundy is Pinot Noir, so that is one option. The challenge with using Pinot Noir is that good Pinot Noirs tend to come at a price that makes you wish you were pouring it into a glass, rather than a Dutch oven (which would make it a perfect bottle to have with coq au vin). So, you could widen the origin and think about a French wine instead of specifically Burgundian. Pick a medium-bodied red wine like Merlot or Carménère or Cabernet Franc, or go a little deeper and pick a solid Cabernet Sauvignon. Really… just pick a wine that you like. 

Browned chicken on a plate, vegetables in a Dutch oven and a bottle of red wine.

Remember, preliminary browning is important to good braising, so don’t cheat on the step of browning the chicken. Getting good color on the chicken not only makes it look more presentable, but gives the entire dish better flavor. You can read more about how to braise in the cooking school here

Red wine being poured into a Dutch oven with browned chicken on a plate in the background.

Deglazing is the next important step in braising. This recipe differs from other coq au vin recipes in that you deglaze first with brandy. This adds another flavor dimension to your braise, deepening the flavor somewhat. (Honestly – this part of the recipe came from an honest slip of the hand with mine en place. Brandy was added first and I loved the way it turned out, so it has become a part of the recipe now. Yep, that’s how great recipes happen!) Next pour in that wine and grab your flattest wooden spatula or spoon to scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. This double deglazing is what will give flavor to your sauce.

Chicken nestled into braising liquid in a Dutch Oven with a yellow and white striped towel near by.

Do be sure not to over braise coq au vin. Originally, this recipe was intended for a coq, or translated from French to English a “cock”, but let’s just call it a rooster. 😳 Roosters are older and tougher, much tougher than the chickens that we cook with today. So, where the recipe originally would have you cooking a rooster for several hours, you really only need 30 or 40 minutes these days. Even though the chicken is cooking in liquid, it’s still very easy to dry out chicken in a braise, so pay attention to the time. 

Button mushrooms browning in a pan.

Braising for half an hour gives you plenty of time to brown the mushrooms and pearl onions separately in a pan. This extra step is preferable because cooking the mushrooms in with the braise just makes them water-logged and unpleasant. By cooking them separately, you can get some much wanted color on both the onions and mushrooms and that enhances the look and flavor of the finished dish. Plus, you get to deglaze with brandy again!

A white plate with Coq au Vin over mashed potatoes with green beans on a wooden table with bread, wine and a napkin.

At the very end of the braise, you can decide to thicken the sauce with a beurre manié or leave it broth-y. The sauce consistency is completely up to personal preference, so you choose. Either way, it will be delicious and serving it over mashed potatoes, or rice, or even wide noodles means that no sauce will be left behind.

Featured Recipe Techniques

More about the skills used in this recipe.

Cooking School
How to Braise

To braise means to cook something partially covered in liquid, in a pot covered with a lid, at a low...View Technique

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Coq au Vin - Stovetop Version

  • Prep Time: 30 m
  • Cook Time: 40 m
  • Total Time: 1 h 10 m
  • Servings:
    6

Ingredients

  • 6 strips thick-cut bacon chopped
  • 3 pounds chicken legs 6 legs, separated into thighs and drumsticks
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 carrots sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons brandy divided
  • cups red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup canned tomatoes diced
  • 4 tablespoons butter room temperature, divided
  • 24 pearl onions peeled (thawed if using frozen)
  • 1 pound button mushrooms halved
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • fresh thyme chopped

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat a 5-quart or larger Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Pat the chicken dry and generously season with salt and pepper. Sear in batches until browned on all sides. Remove the browned chicken to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the sliced onions and sauté until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf and rosemary. Pour in ½ cup of the brandy and deglaze the pan by scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Pour in the red wine, chicken stock, and diced tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Return the chicken and any juices on the plate to the pot. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer the pot to the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

  4. While the chicken is cooking, heat a 12-inch sauté pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and sauté the pearl onions until lightly brown. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, tossing regularly. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of brandy and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom.
  5. Mix the remaining 3 tablespoons of the butter with the flour, making a paste (called a beurre manié). When chicken is tender, remove the pot from the oven and place it on the stovetop. Transfer the chicken pieces to a deep serving vessel. Stir the beurre manié into the braising liquid and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken. Add the sautéed pearl onions and mushrooms and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the vegetables and sauce over the chicken in the serving vessel, sprinkle with the fresh thyme and cooked bacon and serve.

Coq au Vin - Pressure Cooker Version

  • Prep Time: 30 m
  • Cook Time: 10 m
  • Pressure Release Time: 10 m
  • Total Time: 50 m
  • Servings:
    6

Ingredients

  • 6 strips thick-cut bacon chopped
  • 3 pounds chicken legs 6 legs, separated into thighs and drumsticks
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 carrots sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons brandy divided
  • cups red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup canned tomatoes diced
  • 4 tablespoons butter room temperature, divided
  • 24 pearl onions peeled (thawed if using frozen)
  • 1 pound button mushrooms halved
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • fresh thyme chopped

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the pressure cooker on the BROWN setting 

  2. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Pat the chicken dry and generously season with salt and pepper. Sear in batches until browned on all sides. Remove the browned chicken to a plate and set aside.

  3. Add the sliced onions and sauté until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and carrots and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf and rosemary. Pour in ½ cup of the brandy and deglaze the pan by scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the cooker. Pour in the red wine, chicken stock, and diced tomatoes and bring the mixture to a simmer. Return the chicken and any juices on the plate to the cooker and lock the lid in place.

  4. Pressure cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.

  5. While the chicken is cooking, heat a 12-inch sauté pan over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and sauté the pearl onions until lightly brown. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, tossing regularly. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of brandy and deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom.
  6. Release the pressure from the pressure cooker manually and carefully remove the lid. Transfer the chicken to a deep serving vessel.

  7. Mix the remaining 3 tablespoons of the butter with the flour, making a paste (called a beurre manié). Return the pressure cooker to the BROWN setting and bring the braising liquid to a boil. Stir the beurre manié into the braising liquid to thicken. Add the sautéed pearl onions and mushrooms and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce and vegetables over the chicken in the serving vessel, sprinkle with the fresh thyme and cooked bacon and serve.

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Comments (2)Post a Reply

    1. Hi Kathleen. Did you click on the “Print Recipe” button to the right and above the recipe card? I just checked it out and it worked for me.

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