Coq au Vin is a classic French dish of chicken cooked in red wine with onions, carrots, garlic, mushrooms and fresh herbs added.
Traditionally, it was a way to cook tough chicken. For my version, I use skinless bone-in chicken thighs for an amazing restaurant quality dish that is elegant enough to serve at a dinner party, but equally worthy of week night dinners.
Coq au Vin takes a bit of time to prepare, but is totally worth it. What’s even better is that the leftovers (if any) are even more flavorful the next day.
When I asked Susan what she wanted for her birthday, her response was Coq au Vin and Flourless Chocolate Cake! Excellent choices.
Ingredients for Coq au Vin
I’ve been making this Coq au Vin for a number of years. It never ceases to produce a WOW factor. Most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry/refrigerator.
Making the Sauce for Coq au Vin
When I first started making Coq au Vin, I cooked the chicken in the wine sauce from the beginning. One day, I realized that what really made the Coq au Vin was the richness of the sauce brought about by a long, slow cook. From that point on, I cooked the wine sauce for one hour and 30 minute before adding the chicken.
Here’s how I did it. First, I sautéed the chopped onions and carrot in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes in my Dutch oven set over medium heat.
Then, I added the garlic and cooked the vegetables for about 30 seconds until the garlic was fragrant. Next, I added the flour, salt, thyme and pepper, and stirred everything to combine.
Finally, I added the wine, chicken broth and tomato paste and brought the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once the sauce had thickened a bit, I added the parsley that I had tied into a bundle, covered the Dutch oven, and transferred it to a 325°F oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Preparing the Chicken
While the wine sauce was cooking, I prepared the chicken thighs. First, I trimmed the thighs of excess fat and patted them dry. Next I sprinkled salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken thighs. I browned both sides of the chicken thighs in a little olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
Once all of the chicken thighs had been browned, I set them aside until it was time to add them to the wine sauce.
Adding Chicken Thighs to Wine Sauce
After cooking the wine sauce for an hour and 30 minutes, I removed the Dutch oven from the oven. The onions and carrots had done their part to flavor the sauce. Therefore, I poured the contents into a wire strainer set over a large bowl.
Using the back of a spoon, I pressed on the onion mixture to extract as much sauce as possible, and returned the strained sauce to the Dutch oven. I discarded the vegetables.
I added the chicken thighs to the wine sauce in the Dutch oven. Then, I covered the Dutch oven and returned it to the 325°F oven for another hour and 30 minutes.
Half way through cooking the chicken in the wine sauce, I turned the chicken thighs to ensure that they had maximum contact with the wine sauce.
Preparing the Pearl Onions and Mushrooms
While the chicken was cooking in the wine sauce, I prepared the pearl onions and mushrooms. The reason that I cooked the onions and mushrooms separately was that I wanted them to be perfectly cooked. If I had added them to the wine sauce at the same time as the chicken, both the onions and the mushrooms would have been over-cooked.
The first thing that I did with the pearl onions was place them in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen the skins. Then, I peeled the onions and patted them dry.
Next, I heated some butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat and added the onions. After tossing the onions in the butter, I added some chicken broth, salt and pepper. I brought the mixture to a boil, reduced the heat to medium low and covered the skillet.
I cooked the onions for about 20 minutes, stirring them occasionally, until a fork could easily pierce them. Once the onions were done, I uncovered them, increased the heat to high and cooked them for several more minutes until the chicken broth was evaporated. I set the cooked onions aside.
For the mushrooms, I heated the skillet with some olive oil over medium-high heat. T
hen, I added the mushrooms and cooked them stirring constantly for several minutes until most of the liquid had evaporated. Next, I added the cognac and continued cooking the mushrooms until the cognac had evaporated.
At this point, I set the mushrooms aside.
Finishing the Coq au Vin
After the chicken had cooked in the wine sauce for an hour and 30 minutes, I removed the Dutch oven from the oven.
I thought that the sauce was a bit thin. Therefore I removed the chicken, and brought the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Stirring constantly, I added a slurry of cornstarch mixed with chicken broth to thicken the sauce.
Then, I returned the chicken to the sauce and added the cooked onions and mushrooms. I gave the mixture a stir and heated it for another 5 minutes or so to ensure that everything was nicely heated.
The chicken was falling off the bone tender and succulent, and the sauce incredible. I served the Coq au Vin over buttered noodles with fresh steamed green beans, crusty French bread that I had made earlier in the day and the same Merlot that I used in the wine sauce. Yum!
Coq au Vin
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 large carrot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups red wine (See Tip 1)
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 10 sprigs fresh parsley
- 8 skinless bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 18 to 20 pearl onions, peeled (See Tip 2)
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 8 ounces mushrooms cleaned and sliced
- 1 Tablespoon Cognac
- Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in Dutch oven set over medium heat. When hot, add the onions and carrots. Sauté, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Add garlic; sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add flour; salt, thyme and pepper; stir to combine. Add wine, chicken broth, tomato paste and parsley tied in a bundle. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cover and transfer to a 325° F oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- While wine sauce is cooking, pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot, add chicken thighs in batches, making sure not to crowd them. Brown chicken thighs on both sides 3 to 4 minutes per side; drain on paper towels.
- Remove wine sauce from oven; pour mixture into wire strainer set over a large bowl. Press with back of spoon to extract as much wine sauce as possible. Return strained wine sauce to Dutch oven.
- Add browned chicken thighs to wine sauce. Cover Dutch oven and return to 325°F oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add pearl onions and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring occasionally until done, about 20 minutes. When onions are done, remove the cover. Increase heat to high and cook until chicken broth is evaporated, several minutes Set aside.
- Cook sliced mushrooms in same pan as used for the chicken over high heat, until browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add Cognac and continue cooking until all liquid is evaporated. Set aside. .
Finishing the Coq au Vin
- Remove Dutch oven from oven; add cooked mushrooms and cooked pearl onions. Stir to combine. If necessary, thicken sauce with mixture of chicken broth and cornstarch. If desired, garnish with chopped parsley. Yield: 6 servings.
Chula's Expert Tips
- I like to use a Merlot for the red wine, but you can use whatever red wine you like. However, don't use a wine that you wouldn't otherwise drink.
- To peel the pearl onions, boil for 30 seconds. Then rinse in cold water.