Coq au Vin is the epic French chicken braised in a rich red wine sauce. No fancy ingredients required, no tricky techniques. Just a bit of patience to let it simmer away gently to make the chicken tender and for the sauce to transform into a molten luscious sauce fit for a king! (Or queen)
It’s FRENCH WEEK here on RecipeTin Eats, and this is our main course! Have you entered the Chassuer Cast Iron Cookware giveaway??
“We’re having French”, I said, trying thoroughly unsuccessfully to say it without a look of smug satisfaction as my friends’ faces lit up in delight.
Saying that you’re having a French dinner party sounds so très chic, doesn’t it?
What is it about French food – or anything French really – that makes commoners like me feel fancy? Whether it’s French clothing, French shoes (who else lusts over Louboutins…..), French holidays, French pastries. Heck, even the French accent. It’s sure fancier than my Aussie twang!
So this Aussie feels very schmancy being able to serve up a 3 course French dinner party menu. With ease. Because here’s the secret I don’t tell my friends. This entire menu can be made ahead. So you can be the hostess with the mostess, and swan serenely around serving up this 3 course meal without getting a hair out of place. And look like a total domestic goddess.
Oh – I got so caught up in that vision, I forgot to mention what the menu actually is. Duh! It’s French Onion Soup to start, this Coq au Vin for the main and Creme Brûlée to finish! (You will fall off your chair when you see how easy Creme Brûlée is to make).
I was born to Japanese parents who both have Japanese parents (who had Japanese parents – and on and on). I don’t have a single drop of French blood running through my veins – no matter how much I wish I did because I would feel very exotic to be able to say that one of my ancestors way back somewhere was French.
So for 100% authentic French dishes, I defer to the masters of French cooking. Julia Child (tried her Potato Dauphinoise yet?). Guillaume Brahimi.
And for this Coq au Vin, I’ve ever so slightly adapted a recipe from the cookbook “Manu’s French Bistro” by Manu Fiedel, the French chef host of My Kitchen Rules (Australian reality cooking show).
The rich sauce of Coq au Vin which is the hero of the dish (I lie, it’s on par with the tender chicken) (wait, can’t forget the creamy mashed potatoes too) is made with red wine which is also used to marinate the chicken. It doesn’t taste winey though (is that a word??). After almost 2 hours of cooking, it transforms completely into a really deep flavoured sauce. It’s hard to describe. It’s not meaty flavoured, like gravy. It’s more refined than that, and more layers of flavour, but still just as flavourful.
I love how the wine marinade stains the chicken pink!
The wine is also what gives the brown gravy the unique tinge of deep burgundy that distinguishes this stew from every other stew. Isn’t it simply glorious??
I make Coq au Vin in my shallow Chasseur casserole pot (see photo at top of post for perspective on depth) which regular readers know I’m thoroughly in love with. It is featured heavily in recipes on my site – like in my Chicken in White Wine with Bacon (also very French-chic!), One Pot Broccoli and Chicken Mac & Cheese and the Homemade Hamburger Helper (aka Cheeseburger Casserole) that readers adore!
Which is why I took it upon myself to contact Chasseur and ask them if they would donate some Chasseur Cast Iron cookware to giveaway to my readers, and they said YES!!! So pop on over to enter the giveaway which is in the French Onion Soup post I published on Monday. And good luck to you all! – Nagi x
FRENCH DINNER MENU
Coq au Vin
Red Wine Marinade
- 1.2 litres / 1.2 quarts red wine , preferably a pinot noir or Burgundy (Note 1)
- 1 carrot , sliced
- 1 onion , sliced (brown, yellow, white)
- 3 cloves of garlic , crushed/smashed
- 12 black peppercorns
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf (dried or fresh)
- 1.5 kg / 3 lb chicken pieces , bone in and skin on (Note 2)
- 1/3 cup / 80 ml vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml brandy (or cognac)
- 60 g / 2 oz unsalted butter
- 200 g / 7 oz speck or bacon , cut into 3 x 1 cm / 1 1/4 x 2/5" batons
- 12 pearl onions (Note 3)
- 3 garlic cloves , finely chopped or minced
- 3 eschalots , thinly sliced (Note 4)
- 2 cups beef broth / stock
- 1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / 75 g plain flour
- 8 parsley stalks + 4 thyme sprigs + 1 bay leaf , tied together with string ("bouquet garni") (Note 5)
- Salt and pepper
- 250 g / 8 oz small button mushrooms
- Freshly chopped parsley , to serve
- Place Chicken Marinade ingredients together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight.
- Drain chicken, reserving wine. Strain wine and discard carrots etc.
- Pat chicken dry, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large heavy based dutch oven or large deep skillet over high heat. Add half the oil, then brown the chicken on both sides.
- Drain excess fat. Add brandy. Optional: Carefully light brandy with a match - the flame will die once the alcohol is burnt out. Otherwise just simmer until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Remove chicken from dutch oven.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining oil + butter. When melted, add speck and onions. Cook for 2 minutes, then add garlic and eschalots. Cook until the onions are light golden.
- Add flour and mix in. Add half the wine then stir to dissolve the flour sludge into the wine. Then add the remaining wine + beef broth. Mix and bring to simmer. Then add the herbs and chicken, cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour 20 minutes or until chicken is tender.
- Remove lid. Add mushrooms, then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until liquid reduces to desired consistency and mushrooms are soft. Adjust salt and pepper.
- Serve with creamy mashed potatoes, sprinkled with fresh parsley.
* Scaled down slightly from 6 to 4-5 serves, to match the serving sizes of the other recipes in my 3 part French Menu (French Onion soup to start, Coq au Vin for main, Creme Brûlée for dessert)
* Added beef broth. Some recipes, like Manu's, do not use broth at all but many do (e.g. Julia Childs!). I like the extra depth of flavour it adds, and also makes up for not using an expensive red wine!
* Manu's recipe says to add the mushrooms in at the beginning but I like my mushrooms with a bit more shape to them so I add them towards the end. 7. Nutrition - I haven't provided the nutrition for this because of two main factors: 1) the fattiness of the chicken and amount of fat discarded has a huge impact 2) I have no idea how to calculate how much reduction there is in the calories of the wine due to alcohol evaporation.
LIFE OF DOZER
Can someone remind me why I didn’t get a lap dog? Once, he spilled a whole bowl of meatballs when he lifted his head from under this very same table.