Friday, March 2, 2012

Coq Au Vin - Burgundy-style poultry and red wine stew

Coq au Vin (literally "rooster in red wine") is probably the most famous of all French chicken dishes, and certainly one of the most delicious, with its rich red wine sauce, its tender onions and mushroom garniture, and its browned pieces of chicken with their wonderful flavor.

                                         6 Portions


1 Coq, stewing chicken, or guinea fowl, 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs)or whole quails 
2 thick slices bacon 
2 T flour 
1/4 C cognac
3 C dry red wine (not too dry, not too sweet) 
2 cloves garlic, 4 carrots peeled 
2 bay leaves, 3 sprigs fresh thyme 
20 pearl onions, or 4 large white onions, 1/4ered 
360 g (13 oz.) button mushrooms
2 T. butter 
450 g, (1 lb.) fingerling potatoes 
1 bunch chopped parsley


  • Portion large poultry such as chicken into 8's, small poultry like Cornish hens into 1⁄4 s. 
  • Meanwhile, chop bacon and brown in wide sauté pan over medium heat. Careful not to burn oil, remove and reserve bacon once browned. 
  • Place poultry pieces in bacon fat and brown on all sides, add dust with flour and stir to dissolve, then deglaze with Cognac, which can be flambéed if desired. 
  • Reduce 3 minutes, then add the herbs and wine, which should cover about 1/2 way up the poultry. Salt lightly, and bring to the simmer over medium heat, careful not to ever boil. (Best not to put on a lid, as the steam build-up can quickly toughen the poultry.)   
  • Meanwhile, unless you have a huge pan, you'll have to cook the vegetables in a separate sauté pan. Melt 1 T. butter and soften onions and carrots with light browning about 10 minutes, covered. Add garlic cloves for last 2 minutes, salt, and mix into pan with poultry. 
  • Use the same pan with another 1 T. butter to brown the mushrooms, cut smaller if necessary. 
  • Mix them, and reserved bacon into the poultry in the last 10 minutes of cooking, which should not exceed 45 minutes total simmering. 
  • If sauce remains too thin to coat the back of a spoon, remove the poultry and reduce sauce until it's thick enough to coat the poultry. 
  • Check for seasoning, toss in parsley the last minute, and serve with fingerling potatoes, which have been boiled about 30 minutes, salted, till tender. 
  • To perfect cooking times, the breast pieces should be cooked ideally only about 10 minutes, so if you want to go to the trouble, remove them from the pan after browning, and add them to the wine sauce only for the last ten minutes.
  • Also, should you be trying the authentic recipe with an older bird, count on about 2 hrs of simmering time. In this case, it's better to add the sautéed veggies into the simmering sauce only in the last 1/2 hr or so, to avoid them completely over-cooking.

Wine Suggestions: 
Use the same or similar red wine as in the stew, traditionally a balanced wine from Burgundy.
Photo courtesy of Pauline Boldt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks so yummy