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Coq au Vin: the best recipe for a traditional French chicken stew

Total time: 105 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 8 people
By Cookist
for the marinade
chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
Chicken drumsticks
pearl onions
Bay leaf
fresh thyme sprigs
Dry red wine
750 ml
for the chicken
3 to 4 tbsp
salt and pepper to taste
for the stew
white mushrooms, halved
14 oz
5 oz
Unsalted butter
4 tbsp
garlic cloves, finely minced
Tomato paste
2 tbsp
flour, plain
7 tbsp
beef stock
3 cups
salt and pepper to taste

When the weather is cold, nothing hits the spot quite like a homemade hearty stew. This delicious coq au vin recipe is ideal for when the weather is chilly.

This easy French chicken stew is made by marinating chicken thighs and drumsticks in red wine, then cooking it with onions, mushrooms, bacon, herbs, and simmering it in beef stock and a dash of tomato puree.

It's a wonderful dish to enjoy with creamy mashed potatoes, noodles, and plenty of crusty bread. Coq au vin is similar to beef bourguignon but is made with chicken instead of beef. It's a mouthwatering, hearty stew to serve any time you'd like a rich, flavorful yet elegant meal.


What is Coq au Vin?

Coq au vin (pronounced kok-oh-van) is a traditional French chicken stew. Traditionally, this tasty dish was made with rooster (coq in French), but many versions today are made with chicken.

Regardless of what type of poultry is used, the meat is marinated in red wine (vin in French), then browned and cooked with a medley of vegetables.


Coq au Vin Ingredients

To make coq au vin at home, you'll need chicken thighs and drumsticks, wine, beef stock, fresh thyme, and vegetables like mushrooms and onions.

Tomato paste adds extra flavor to the stew while flour helps to thicken the gravy.

Red wine is the typical choice for coq au vin, but you can use white or even rosé wine if you prefer.


How to Make Coq au Vin 

Making French chicken stew is incredibly easy. If you follow these simple steps, you'll master coq au vin in no time.

Marinate Chicken

Your first step is to marinate the chicken. Place the chicken in a bowl with the onions, bay leaf, thyme, and red wine. Stir it well to coat, then cover and let it marinate for several hours, ideally overnight. The next day, take the chicken out of the wine and pat it dry.

Make the Stew

Preheat your oven to 350F. Once the chicken has been marinated, it's time to make the stew. Pour the wine used to marinate the chicken into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then lower it to a simmer to reduce it by half.

Saute the chicken until it's nice and brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side for the thighs, and about 4 to 5 minutes for the drumsticks. Take the chicken out of the pan and set it aside.

Fry the bacon until crispy, then set it aside. You can blanch the bacon if you want a less salty coq au vin, but it's up to you. Cook the mushrooms until they turn golden brown, then put them in a bowl. Cook the onions until lightly browned. Saute the garlic in butter until fragrant, and in the tomato paste, then the flour.

Mix in the beef stock, then stir in the wine. Put the chicken, bacon, and mushrooms back in the pot then pop the lid on and cook the stew in the oven for 45 minutes. Serve it with loads of French bread and some mashed potatoes, and enjoy!


What to Serve with Coq au Vin

Mashed potatoes are a popular choice to serve with coq au vin, as are noodles, especially tagliatelle noodles.

You can also serve this tasty French chicken stew with roasted potatoes, cauliflower mash, or rice.

Make sure to enjoy your coq au vin with some crusty French bread so you can mop up all that delicious gravy!


Tips for the Best French Chicken Stew

Use a dry red wine like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot for your coq au vin. Don't use an expensive bottle. A decent quality, inexpensive one will do the trick.

If you don't want to use alcohol, you can substitute it for non-alcoholic red wine, grape juice, pomegranate juice, or stock.

For an extra flavor, garnish your coq au vin with freshly chopped parsley, sage, or tarragon.

Add other vegetables like carrots and celery to your coq au vin to make it even heartier and more delicious.

For an even tastier, more richly flavored coq au vin, make it one day in advance. This will give all the flavors time to meld in the stew.

Bone-in, skin-on chicken will give you the best flavor for your stew.

You can make your coq au vin in a slow cooker if you prefer. Simply cook it on low for 5 to 6 hours.


How to Store Coq au Vin

Once the stew has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.


Put the chicken in a large bowl.

Add the bay leaf, thyme.

Add the onions.

Pour in the red wine.

Stir, then cover and marinate overnight.

Remove the chicken and pat it dry.

Pour the red wine into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil and reduce it by half, making sure to remove any impurities that float to the surface.

Preheat your oven to 350F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet then cook the chicken until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side for the thighs.

Brown about 4 to 5 minutes for the drumsticks. Take the chicken out of the pan and set it aside.

Saute the bacon until browned and crispy. Remove from the pan and set it aside.

Saute the mushrooms for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl.

Cook the onions for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. In a large pot, melt the butter, then add in.

Saute the garlic until fragrant, followed by the tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes, then add in the flour and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk the beef stock into the flour mixture.

Stir in the wine.

Place the chicken, mushrooms, and bacon back in the pot.

Bring to a simmer then place the lid on the pot and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.

Garnish with fresh herbs.

Serve and enjoy!


You can use any type of oil for the chicken. Olive oil, grapeseed, coconut, vegetable oil, or canola oil all work.

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