Coq au Vin is of French origin. The literal meaning of coq au vin is – cock or rooster cooked in wine. It is believed that this recipe was initially applied to old, tough birds requiring long, slow cooking to tenderize the meat.
About a century ago coq au vin was elevated to a cordon bleu recipe and is, today, still considered to be rather special.
A whole chicken is generally used in the making of coq au vin, portioned and browned with onion and strips of bacon. It is then braised in a full-bodied, red wine until tender. Baby onions and mushrooms are added to the rich, flavorsome sauce. While traditionally made with red wine, there are many versions of coq au vin with white wine.
This easy recipe is one my mother sent me many years ago, when we were living in Germany. Chicken pieces with skin-on and bone-in were used – I prefer the deboned, skinless thighs.
- 4 ounces bacon, cut into strips
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 large carrot, cut into diagonal pieces
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- salt and black pepper
- sprig of fresh rosemary
- 4-5 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or a bunch of fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 2 cups full-bodied red wine
- 1 pound petite whole frozen onions
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, whole, halved, or quartered, depending on size
- Stir the bacon, onion, and carrot over medium to high heat for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the chicken and brown lightly on both sides.
- Lower the temperature and add the garlic, tomato paste, a sprinkling of salt and pepper, rosemary, bay leaves, thyme and flour.
- Mix and add the brandy to deglaze the base of the pan.
- Stir in the wine, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for about an hour until the chicken is tender.
- Boil the onions in ¼ cup water to thaw, and add to the chicken, together with the mushrooms.
- Simmer for a further 10-15 minutes before serving.