- chicken, rinsed, patted dry, cut into 6 large pieces, or 6-8 chicken legs/thighs with the bone in 5 lb.
- Carrots 2 medium, cut into chunks
- White onion 2 medium (chopped)
- stalk celery 1, (chopped)
- Tomato 1 medium, (chopped)
- gloves garlic 2(crushed)
- Dried thyme ½ teaspoon
- leaf 1 bay
- Fresh parsley 2 tablespoons (chopped)
- Ground black pepper ½ teaspoon
- Dry red wine 5 cups (such as shiraz or cabernet)
- Cognac ¼ cup (you can use other brandy here, but Cognac is the authentic addition)
- Extra-virgin olive oil ¼ cup
- Salt 1 teaspoon • 1 kcal
- Sugar 2 teaspoons • 470 kcal
- pearl onions 8 ounces
- Mushrooms 8 ounces (cleaned and thinly sliced)
- Sliced bacon 6 ounces good-quality (chopped)
- Butter 2 tablespoons (softened) • 717 kcal
This is a traditional French recipe, and originally it called for a rooster instead of chicken as the main ingredient. All poor people could afford was a rooster, which is a very tough bird and unsuitable for roasting. The marinating and long, slow cooking made an old rooster tender and full of flavor.
Nowadays it’s not easy to find a rooster, or even an old hen, to make this dish with, but if you can get hold of one, use it. I used bone-in chicken legs and thighs, as boneless meat just won’t impart as much flavor.
It’s a hearty dish that doesn’t require much in the way of accompaniments, but it goes well with some seasonal veg and crusty bread to mop up the juices.
Coq au Vin is one of those French recipes known around the world, yet most people think that the recipe is for chicken. Coq au vin, or rooster in wine, was created as a delicious way to tenderize a tough, old bird in poor households. Today, chicken is widely used and still creates a fabulous dish, but if you can get your hands on an old bird, do try the authentic recipe.
Place the chicken in a large, deep, non-reactive casserole dish*. Layer the carrots, onion, celery, tomato, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, parsley, and pepper evenly over the chicken pieces. In a small bowl, mix together the red wine, Cognac, and oil. Drizzle the wine mixture over the vegetables and chicken, and then marinate the mixture overnight, for 8-12 hours.
The raw chicken will have turned a reddish color from the wine as it soaks up the flavors.
Preheat the oven to 425F/200C fan/gas mark 7. Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove each piece of the chicken from the marinade, reserving the liquid, and brown them on each side.
Set aside the chicken, scoop the vegetables out of the marinade, and cook them in the skillet for 5 minutes, until they begin to get tender.
Arrange the chicken in a deep casserole dish.
Layer the vegetables over the chicken, and pour the reserved liquid over the casserole. Sprinkle the salt and sugar over the mixture, cover, and bake it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
While the chicken is baking, fry the bacon in the skillet until it is crispy and set it aside to drain. Pour off all but approximately 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and sauté the mushrooms and onions over low-medium heat for 6-8 minutes, until they turn tender.
When the chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, remove it from the oven and add the bacon, mushrooms, and onions. Cover and return the casserole to the oven for 20 minutes.
Mix together the 2 tablespoons softened butter and the all-purpose flour until they form a smooth paste. Add the butter-flour mixture, or beurre manie, to the chicken and vegetables for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove the casserole from the oven and stir the beurre manie throughout the dish.
Allow it to sit and thicken for a few minutes before serving.
* The dish you use for the marinating needs to be either glass, stoneware or ceramic, as does the roasting dish. The acids in the marinade will react with metal dishes or casserole pots.
*If you can’t find fresh pearl onions, use jarred ones instead. Rinse them thoroughly first to remove all traces of the vinegar they are stored in.