Skip to Content

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin is braised chicken with mushrooms, pearl onions, and bacon in a wine sauce. Perfect for fall dinner parties!

Coq au Vin baked and ready to serve.

Anything that comes from Julia Child has to be good, especially if it involves wine. This chicken recipe is delicious and pretty easy although it is a little time-consuming. I cheat and use frozen pearl onions, which Julia probably would not approve of, but I once made a recipe using fresh pearl onions and it’s not an experience I ever intend to repeat.

I also use pre-sliced baby portabella mushrooms but you could use small, whole mushrooms if you prefer. The wine and stock thicken to a silky sauce that coats the chicken, and the herbs and onions leave your whole house smelling like a French bistro.

This dish is perfect for a weekend dinner with family or friends—just grab a good bottle of red wine and some crusty bread and you are all set.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Read this recipe all the way through before beginning. Some things will cook simultaneously.

  •  3-4 ounces bacon, chopped into one inch pieces
  • 1 whole cut-up frying chicken
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup cognac
  • 3 cups young full-bodied red wine such as Burgundy, Cotes du Rhone or Chianti (I use a French Pinot Noir)
  • 1-2 cups brown chicken stock
  • ½ tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pkg frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 2 pkgs sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp softened butter

For the mushrooms, you’ll need an additional 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil and a little salt and pepper.

For the onions, you’ll need an additional 1 and ½ tbsp butter and 1 ½ tbsp oil and ½ cup brown chicken stock. Also, ¼ tsp thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

CHICKEN:

Heat 2 tbsp butter in a large Dutch oven and add chopped bacon, frying until browned but not crisp. Remove bacon to a side dish.

bacon

Dry chicken with paper towel and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in the bacon grease. You may have to do this a few pieces at a time. Mmm, smell the goodness…butter, bacon, chicken…

brownedchicken

Return bacon to the pot, cover and cook on medium-low for about ten minutes. Turn off the heat and add cognac. Avert your face and ignite the cognac with a lighted match then shake the pot gently for a few minutes until the flames completely subside. Some people don’t add the cognac, and some don’t ignite it but I do both because, well, that’s what Julia says to do. And it’s fun.

Pour wine into the pot (there will be a bit left in the bottle so finish that while you’re cooking) and add just enough chicken stock to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and herbs.

chickenready

Bring to a simmer. This is where it gets really good and a perfect time to have your guests arrive. They will walk in and experience tantalizing aromas of herbs, wine, chicken, bacon…all melding together to form a heavenly, hearty bread-sopping meal.

Cover and simmer slowly for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and juices run clear.

Remove the chicken to a casserole dish. (The chicken will have absorbed the red wine and be a weird purplish color but the sauce is going to cover it, so it will be fine.) 

WHILE THE CHICKEN IS COOKING:

I start the mushrooms while the bacon is cooking and do these things simultaneously. This requires a lot of attention to what you are doing. The onion will simmer while the chicken is cooking.

Place a large skillet over high heat and melt the butter and oil. When the butter is hot, add the mushrooms.

mushrooms

Stir gently every few minutes until lightly browned and tender, probably about ten minutes. Watch the heat and don’t let them burn. You may need to turn it down slightly. Remove the mushrooms to a bowl so you can use the same skillet for the onions. Go ahead and taste one. They are scrumptious.

Onions: melt the butter and oil in skillet until hot. Add the onions and sauté over moderate heat for about ten minutes, stirring gently so the skins do not break. Brown as evenly as possible and then add the liquid, salt and pepper and thyme.

I love pearl onions — they’re delicate and offer just enough flavor without overpowering like stronger onions would. Cover and simmer slowly for about thirty minutes or until the onions are tender but retain their shape.

onions

BACK TO THE CHICKEN:

You’ve removed the chicken to a side dish. Now simmer the chicken cooking liquid for a minute or two, skimming off the fat. Then raise the heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2 ¼ cups. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Turn off the heat and discard the bay leaf.

Blend the remaining 2 tbsp softened butter and 3 tbsp flour together into a smooth paste, then whisk into the sauce with a wire whisk. Bring the sauce back to a simmer, stirring, and simmer for a minute or two.

The sauce will thicken and should coat the back of a spoon. Now you’re starting to see the magic.

Arrange the chicken in the casserole dish with the onions and mushrooms around it.

chickenbeforesauce

Pour the sauce over the chicken. You could cover and place in a warm (200) oven if you’re not serving for a while. If you want to do this as a make ahead dish then don’t add the sauce until just before serving and bring it to a simmer before adding.

Coq au vin

And there you are! A delicious, hearty chicken dish that’s fit for company and sounds impressive…coq au vin. It looks complicated but only takes a little over an hour to put together.

Julia Child suggests serving with parslied potatoes or buttered egg noodles, but we had neither — just some hot, crusty bread which was perfect for sopping up that sauce. Add some roasted green beans with grape tomatoes and that’s all you need.

Enjoy!

Lucy

Coq au vin

Coq au Vin

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours

Delicious stew of chicken, bacon, mushrooms, and red wine. 

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped into one inch pieces
  • 1 whole cut-up frying chicken
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • cup cognac
  • 3 cups young full-bodied red wine such as Burgundy, Cotes du Rhone or Chianti (I use a French Pinot Noir)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pkg frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 2 pkgs sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • For the mushrooms, you'll need an additional 2 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp oil and a little salt and pepper.
  • For the onions, you'll need an additional 1 and ½ tbsp butter and 1 ½ tbsp oil and ½ cup brown chicken stock. Also, ¼ tsp thyme and salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tbsp butter in a large Dutch oven and add chopped bacon, frying until browned but not crisp. Remove bacon to a side dish.
  2. Dry chicken with paper towel and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown chicken in the bacon grease. You may have to do this a few pieces at a time.
  3. Return bacon to the pot, cover and cook on medium-low for about ten minutes. Turn off the heat and add cognac. Avert your face and ignite the cognac with a lighted match then shake the pot gently for a few minutes until the flames completely subside.
  4. Pour wine into the pot and add just enough chicken stock to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer slowly for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and juices run clear.
  5. Remove the chicken to a casserole dish. (The chicken will have absorbed the red wine and be a weird purplish color but the sauce is going to cover it, so it will be fine.)
  6. Place a large skillet over high heat and melt the butter and oil. When the butter is hot, add the mushrooms. Stir gently every few minutes until lightly browned and tender, probably about ten minutes. Remove the mushrooms to a bowl so you can use the same skillet for the onions.
  7. Onions: melt the butter and oil in skillet until hot. Add the onions and sauté over moderate heat for about ten minutes, stirring gently so the skins do not break. Brown as evenly as possible and then add the liquid, salt and pepper and thyme.
  8. Cover and simmer slowly for about thirty minutes or until the onions are tender but retain their shape.
  9. Simmer the chicken cooking liquid for a minute or two, skimming off the fat. Then raise the heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2 ¼ cups. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Turn off the heat and discard the bay leaf.
  10. Blend the remaining 2 tbsp softened butter and 3 tbsp flour together into a smooth paste, then whisk into the sauce with a wire whisk.
  11. Bring the sauce back to a simmer, stirring, and simmer for a minute or two. The sauce will thicken and should coat the back of a spoon.
  12. Arrange the chicken in the casserole dish with the onions and mushrooms around it. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 8 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 626Saturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 158mgSodium: 699mgCarbohydrates: 8gSugar: 1gProtein: 33g

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag me!

This recipe adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.

Pot Roast with vegetables in a classic sauce--it's an easy, one-pot meal and comfort food at its best!
Previous
Pot Roast - Classic, Easy Comfort Food
Croissant breakfast casserole made with orange marmalade, eggs, and cream--luscious, and super easy.
Next
Croissant Breakfast Casserole with Orange Marmalade