(Photo by Brannon Conza)
This French dish is traditionally made with an old rooster (“coq”) that is stewed in red wine (“au vin”) for a long period of time in order to tenderize the tough meat. Our version uses tender chicken in order to cut down on cooking time. But there is no cutting down on flavor! Serve this dish over buttered noodles or with some nice crusty French bread.
4 oz bacon, sliced (optional)
5 lbs bone-in chicken legs & thighs (skin optional)
Flour for dredging
3-4 cloves garlic
3 oz tomato paste
4 thyme leaves
3-4 bay leaves
750ml (1 bottle) medium-bodied red wine
32 oz chicken stock
24 oz button or cremini mushrooms, quartered
16 oz frozen pearl onions, thawed
½ cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Generously season the legs and thighs with salt and pepper then dredge in flour, dusting off any excess. Set aside. In a large saucepan heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the bacon until it begins to crisp. Remove, drain on a paper towel and reserve.
Carefully place the chicken in the hot oil/bacon fat and brown on both sides, remove and reserve. Do this in batches if necessary. Add the garlic and tomato paste to the pot, sautéing for a minute to release their flavor. Add the mushrooms and onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until they begin to brown slightly.
Add all the chicken back to the pot, along with the thyme, bay, red wine, stock, and reserved bacon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the chicken is falling-of-the-bone tender and liquid has reduced and thickened.
Add the parsley just before serving and check the seasoning for salt and pepper.
Note: if your chicken is done but the sauce isn’t as thick as you’d like, you have a couple options for thickening it.
1) Mix together equal parts water and corn starch. Add a little at a time to the coq au vin, allowing it to simmer for a couple minutes with each addition. Continue adding and simmering until you reach your desired thickness.
2) Knead together equal parts flour and butter. Add a bit at a time, allowing the sauce to simmer for a couple minutes with each addition. Continue until you reach your desired thickness.