Recipes Savoury Recipes

Recipe || Coq Au Vin


Coq au Vin is one of those recipes that wannabe cooks feel like they have to master in order to take themselves somewhat seriously. Like learning to make a good boeuf bourguignon. And let’s not beat around the bush. To cook it properly takes hours. Because if I’m going to do it, and I don’t want to take the easy way out. So for recipes I’m going straight to the American Housewife’s French Cooking Bible aka Julia Childs “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.

However, she was cooking a bazillion years ago and also had a proper kitchen. So my major updates are bolded and italicised. Feel free to embrace or ignore them! This is also one of the few recipes who’s steps I have numbered. I’ve done that just because there are so many of them!

Coq Au Vin [Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, and Bacon]
Pre wine.


Coq Au Vin [Chicken in Red Wine with Onions,  and Bacon]
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Childs

Coq Au Vin [Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, and Bacon]
The semi-finished product served over a bed of mashed potatoes.
The colour of coq au vin slightly disturbs me.


A 3- to 4-ounce chunk of bacon
A heavy, 10-inch, fireproof casserole
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 to 3 pounds cut-up frying chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup cognac (I didn’t have any cognac on hand and I also didn’t want to go to the store- yes I am that lazy- so I used a dash of brandy instead.  FYI cognac is just brandy from a specific region like Champagne vs sparkling white wine)
3 cups young, full-bodied red wine such as Burgundy, Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Chianti ( I used a Beaujolais)
1 to 2 cups brown chicken stock, brown stock or canned beef bouillon
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
8 oz button mushrooms
12 to 24 brown-braised onions (recipe follows) (this seems to be a lot of effort but it is the tastiest part of the meal)
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons softened butter
Sprigs of fresh parsley 

Coq Au Vin [Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, and Bacon]
The very lightly fried chicken.
1. Sauté the bacon slowly in hot butter until it is very lightly browned. Remove to a side dish.
3. Dry the chicken thoroughly. Brown it in the hot fat in the casserole.
4. Season the chicken. Return the bacon to the casserole with the chicken. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once.

Coq Au Vin [Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, and Bacon]
Veggies just doing their thing. Chillin’ on the chopping board.

5. Uncover, and pour in the cognac. Averting your face, ignite the cognac with a lighted match. Shake the casserole back and forth for several seconds until the flames subside.( The flat is not very  conducive to flambéing anything, can you say fire hazard, so I added a tad extra brandy and reduced the juices done to concentrate the flavors)
6. Pour the wine into the casserole. Add just enough stock or bouillon to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste (I used a teaspoon instead of half), garlic and herbs. Bring to the simmer. Cover and simmer slowly for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and its juices run a clear yellow when the meat is pricked with a fork. During the last 15 minutes add in the mushrooms. Remove the chicken to a side dish. (The chicken looks the same color as liver on the outside when it’s done cooking, but inside it SHOULD NOT BE purple or pink at all!!!) 

Coq Au Vin [Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, and Bacon]
Pouring in the wine.

7. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms (recipe follows).
8. Simmer the chicken cooking liquid in the casserole for a minute or two, skimming off the fat. Then raise the heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2 1/4 cups. Correct seasoning. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

Coq Au Vin [Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, and Bacon]
Having just added the mushrooms.

9. Blend the butter and flour together into a smooth paste (buerre manie). Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whip. Bring to the simmer, stirring, and simmer for a minute or two. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
10. Arrange the chicken in the casserole, place the mushrooms and onions around it and baste with the sauce. If this dish is not to be served immediately, film the top of the sauce with stock or dot with small pieces of butter. Set aside uncovered. It can now wait indefinitely.
11. Shortly before serving, bring to the simmer, basting the chicken with the sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 4 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is hot enough.

Coq Au Vin [Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, and Bacon]
Everything waiting in the casserole dish for the sauce to be whisked up.
Oignons Glacés a Brun [Brown-braised Onions]

For 18 to 24 peeled white onions about 1 inch in diameter:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
A 9- to 10-inch enameled skillet
1/2 cup of brown stock, canned beef bouillon, dry white wine, red wine or water
Salt and pepper to taste
A medium herb bouquet: 3 parsley springs, 1/2 bay leaf, and 1/4 teaspoon thyme tied in cheesecloth
(In order to peel so many onions julianne them first!  Trust me although boiling and then plunging onions into ice cold water alternatingly doesn’t sound fun, it is much easier than individually peeling them all)

When the butter and oil are bubbling the skillet, add the onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect to brown them uniformly.
Pour in the liquid, season to taste, and add the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the herb bouquet. Serve them as they are. (I didn’t have any cheesecloth so I put the herbs directly in the onions during the slow simmer phase- I thought it tasted lovely and not over powering at all)

Coq Au Vin [Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, and Bacon]
The final bloody product!
If you are making coq au vin, you need to set aside a good portion of the evening to do it. However, to my taste buds, it is worth every second.
Do you have any recipes that are extremely time consuming but worth it?


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  • I love coq au vin, but I’ve only made it once! My favourite slow-cooked meal is a seafood or mushroom risotto. I find it quite therapeutic…glass of wine in the pot, glass of wine in my hand….

  • O that sounds like the perfect New Years Eve dish!

    • If you’re anything like me, I get really stressed out if I am cooking under a deadline (like we need to go somewhere later) and this recipe is quite long so I’d give yourself more time than you think you need to make it the first time! x

  • the chicken looks delicious! i’ve never heard of this dish before! thanks for sharing.
    Puella Aeterna

    • Glad to share! Several years ago it was my first foray into “classic” French cooking. Not that I’ve ventured much further though…. x

  • Betsy

    I was totally thinking that about the color. Other than the oddly bright color it looks really yummy!

    • The fact that we don’t buy premium red wines doesn’t help with the pigment. My rule of thumb is if it doesn’t taste nice to drink buy itself, don’t cook with it. But that doesn’t mean I am cooking with fine quality wines so my colour is a bit more purple than others out there. x

  • I’ve always been afraid of trying to make this because in my mind it’s just so complicated and intimidating, but it sounds doable, just time consuming. Maybe I will give it a go.

  • Would you believe me if I told I’ve never cooked Coq au Vin? Does that mean I’m not really French? It does look amazing so definitely need to give it a try! I love lamb moussaka but that also takes ages when preparing the aubergine for it! xx

    • Ha! Not at all! I’ve never made meatloaf. That would make me not really American, right? Oohhh, I bet lamb moussaka is really time consuming but especially delicious when homemade! x

  • This one will be in my back pocket when I really want to impress somebody.. I actually have your Recipes Page pinned on my iPhone;s main screen.. for easy access.

  • This looks so freaking good! One day, when I have an oven, I will impress a special someone with this. You have my word 🙂

    • If you ever woo a special someone with coq au vin and then it leads to marriage you can just invite me to the wedding 😉 x

  • This is my first time to hear of this dish and it looks so delicious! Someday I will try this! But it has to be cooked by someone else though because it’s so complicated to make!

  • Gina

    I have made it before {a few times since it is sooooooo good} and my kitchen always looks like a bomb went off by the time I have a finished product. It is a lot of work {takes for ever to clean up} but you are right it is so worth it. I also make a beef bourguignon that is delicious but takes me most of the afternoon to prepare.

    • Agreed! The clean up is almost as long of a process as the cooking. I think a lot of the “classic” French dishes are like this effort-wise, but the taste is so worth it! x