top of page

French Stew of Chicken - Coq au Vin

'Coq au vin' is a hearty French stew of chicken braised in red wine with mushrooms and crisp pancetta.



Rich and brimming with flavor, coq au vin is a classic French stew of chicken braised in red wine with mushrooms and crispy pancetta. It’s the perfect cooking project to tackle on a chilly weekend when you’ve got a few hours to burn; naturally, anything that tastes this wonderful takes some time. As with most stews, it is even better the next day, and it freezes well, too.


I love coq au vin with buttered egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or a good crusty bread — basically anything to soak up the full-flavored sauce. If you like my beef Bourguignon, you’ll love this recipe, too.


WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE COQ AU VIN



Before we get to the step-by-step, a few notes about the ingredients:


  • Traditional recipes for coq au vin call for a whole cut-up chicken (a coq is an old rooster), but I prefer to use only bone-in chicken thighs only. The thighs remain tender and succulent when braised for a long time, whereas white meat tends to dry out.

  • Pancetta is simply Italian bacon. Instead of being smoked like American bacon, it is cured with salt and spices and then dried. You can find it in the deli at most supermarkets or precut and packaged in the refrigerated gourmet foods aisle, which is a great time saver.

  • For the wine, a Burgundy or Pinot Noir is traditional but any light or medium bodied red wine, such as Merlot or Zinfandel, will also work. You don’t need to use an expensive bottle; just make sure it’s good enough to drink (no supermarket cooking wine!).

  • Cognac, a type of French brandy, is delicious in cocktails like sangria, but it also adds complex flavor to savory dishes like chicken pot pie, steak au poivre, and gravy.

  • You may notice that my recipe does not call for the traditional garnish of pearl onions. They can be difficult to find, and I actually prefer the stew without them. If you’d like to add them, be sure to brown them in butter and cook them thoroughly before adding them to the finished stew.


HOW TO MAKE COQ AU VIN


To begin, heat the oil in a large (5-qt) Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta (or bacon) and cook until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crispy, 5 to 8 minutes.



Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pan. Season the chicken all over with 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and brown half of the chicken in a single layer, skin side down, until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes (brown on the skin side only). Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside.



Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat, then return the pot to the stove and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute more.



Pour in the Cognac and cook, stirring to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until the Cognac has evaporated.



Add the wine, chicken broth, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, thyme, bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.



Reduce the heat to medium and gently boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes.



Add the chicken and any accumulated juices from the plate back to the pot, along with the carrots. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, or until the chicken and carrots are cooked through.



While the chicken cooks, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.



Also while the chicken cooks: In a small bowl, combine the softened butter and flour.



Mash with a spoon to make a smooth paste. In French, this is called a beurre manié (or kneaded butter). Set aside.



Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked chicken to a plate. The wine gives it a purplish hue.



Using a fork and knife, pull the skin off of the chicken (it should slide right off) and discard. The skin has served its purpose by lending flavor to the sauce and protecting the meat from drying out. You don’t have to do remove it, but it’s soggy at this point and I think the dish is more appetizing without it.



Increase the heat in the Dutch oven/pot to medium and stir in three-quarters of the flour and butter paste.



Gently boil until the sauce is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes; add the remaining paste if you’d like the sauce a little thicker. Fish out and discard the bay leaf.



Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pot and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Right before serving, stir in the browned mushrooms and pancetta. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.



Serve immediately or let cool, chill in the refrigerator, and reheat when ready to serve.



Coq au Vin


By Jennifer Segal


Coq au vin is a hearty French stew of chicken braised in red wine with mushrooms and crisp pancetta.


Servings: 6

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Total Time: 2 Hours 10 Minutes


INGREDIENTS


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 4 ounces diced pancetta (or bacon)

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin (see note)

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

  • ¼ cup Cognac

  • 2½ cups red wine, preferably Burgundy or Pinot Noir

  • 2½ cups chicken broth

  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

  • 1½ teaspoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch chunks on the bias

  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour


INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large (5-qt) Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crispy, 5 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pan.

  2. Season the chicken all over with 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and brown half of the chicken in a single layer, skin side down, until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes (brown on the skin side only). Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat.

  3. Return the pot to the stove and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and just starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the Cognac and cook, stirring to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until the Cognac has evaporated. Add the wine, chicken broth, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, thyme, bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and gently boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

  4. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices from the plate back to the pot, along with the carrots. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, or until the chicken and carrots are cooked through.

  5. While the chicken cooks, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

  6. Also while the chicken cooks: In a small bowl, mash the softened butter and flour to make a smooth paste. Set aside.

  7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked chicken to a plate.

  8. Increase the heat in the Dutch oven/pot to medium and stir in three-quarters of the flour and butter paste. Gently boil until the sauce is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes; add the remaining paste if you'd like the sauce a little thicker. Fish out and discard the bay leaf.

  9. Using a fork and knife, pull the skin off of the chicken and discard.

  10. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pot and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Right before serving, stir in the browned mushrooms and pancetta. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, then serve.

  11. Make-Ahead Instructions: Let cool to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat over medium-low heat on the stovetop before serving. (For best results, store the sautéed mushrooms and crispy pancetta in separate containers in the refrigerator and add before serving.)

  12. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: This can be frozen for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the stew in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot.

  13. Note: Sometimes chicken thighs have excess skin and/or fat. Before cooking, using kitchen shears, trim any skin that extends farther than the edges of the chicken thigh, and snip off any excess fat.

Special thanks to Jennifer Segal, for the recipe and images. You can support Jennifer by purchasing her cookbook, "Once Upon a Chef, the Cookbook," featuring over 100 delightful recipes.

Comments


bottom of page