Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Coq au Vin for the Wine Enthusiast

I've been struck with a serious case of spring fever having felt the warm sun during a short trip and it's been so hard for me to get motivated again with this lingering winter weather!

Since winter wants to remain in full force, comfort foods are still high on the soul-soothing list.  My most recent comfort food dinner is this Coq au Vin I made this week.  This was a labor of love and it took redoing the recipe a couple of times to get a result that satisfied me.

My first attempt was the dreaded purple chicken due to all of the red wine.  I tried to brown the chicken really well before putting it into the red wine to no avail.  Anyone know how to avoid purple chicken?

Then, I decided to remove the meat from the bones so that it would be easier to eat. Even though the sauce made for great bread-dipping it was still kind of soupy and still didn't look appealing.

My daughter, who used to work at a local French restaurant, mentioned to me that she remembered the chicken being roasted after marinating in the red wine with herbs and that the sauce was reduced to a thick syrup.  Then, the chicken and sauce were served over mashed potatoes with just the mushrooms, bacon and pearl onions. That sounded delicious and was just what I was looking for - the wow factor! Even though this is a rustic dish, this version could be fit for company.

Coq au Vin

Adapted loosely from this recipe by Ina Garten with variations from a french restaurant.
Printable Recipe

Serves 4

2 tablespoons good olive oil
6 ounces good, thick bacon, cut into 1" pieces
8 chicken legs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup Cognac or good brandy
1 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
2 cups good chicken stock
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used Wondra)
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1 pound baby portabella mushrooms, stems removed and cut into fourths

Additional items:

-Chopped parsley for garnish.
-Your favorite mashed potato recipe to serve 4. Fennel mashed potatoes or garlic mashed potatoes would be good choices.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven (I used a large Le Creuset roasting pan). Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 6-7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the a platter and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add the carrots, celery, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the chicken and any juices that collected on the platter into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for about 40 minutes. .

Remove the pot from the oven and remove the chicken legs to a baking sheet.  Allow to cool slightly and pat dry with paper toweling.

Strain the sauce, pressing through some of the solids and return to the pan. Add 4 tablespoons of water to the flour to make a smooth paste and stir into the stew. Place the pan over medium-high heat and simmer until reduced to a syrupy consistency adding more red wine, if necessary.

In a medium saute pan, add the 2 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add the sauteed mushrooms, frozen baby onions and reserved bacon to the reduced sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Season to taste, cover and hold until the chicken and mashed potatoes are ready.

Increase the oven temperature to 375F. Place the chicken legs back into the oven and roasted until the skin becomes crisped.

To assemble, place a large scoop of mashed potatoes on the center of a plate. Top with the reduced wine sauce with mushrooms, bacon and pearl onions. Place two chicken legs on top and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Pass additional sauce at the table.


  1. This sounds just delicious! I love Coq-au-vin and can imagine how the thicker sauce would taste. YUMMY! I'm putting this ON THE MENU!!!

  2. Looks like a detailed dish that produces amazing results!
    PS-I'm ready for spring too:@)

  3. A dish that we would enjoy! I am waiting impatiently for spring ;o)

  4. Sounds and looks like a dish I would enjoy, but would never attempt to make. Thanks for sharing with those that will. I am so ready for warmer temps and Spring!
    Enjoy your evening.

  5. Susan -- this looks wonderful!! I am thinking I am going to have to make this :)


  6. This is a dish that I have never made and that I have never had! Can you believe it? I know it's famous and now I really want to try it. This looks delicious. Hope you have a nice vacation.

  7. Hold tight! Spring is almost here! The snow and winter have been relentless at time during this winter.

    Awesome meal...Awesome wine glasses.


  8. I'm with you, I've had it with winter already. Our weather has been like a yo-yo. One day it's 20 degrees and the next it's in the 60s.

    This dish looks very comforting and delicious! Sounds like a winner for family and guests.

  9. Chicken sauce served over the mashed mouth is watering, Susan. same issue for me with purple chicken..would love to know the solution.
    Gorgeous clicks, Susan.

  10. You made me smile:-)
    I remember lavender chicken for Fifi's magazine:-)

    Looks like you hit the jackpot with your daughter's words and your practice..s

    Happy to have you back:-)

  11. Hang in there Susan, spring will come eventually!! In the meantime, your coq au vin is the perfect dish to warm you up and comfort you!

  12. Nothing to warm you up till spring like this my friend :D


  13. Your Coq au vin looks fantastic. It's a French classic and Ina's version is so nice and easy.

    We must be on the same wave length. I posted Ina's Coq au Vin too. As she says, it's just beef bourguignon with chicken.

  14. I hear you on the effects of a warm sunny break in the middle of winter...sometimes it makes it harder to endure than if you had just stayed home. Hurry up Spring!

    Your Coq au Vin experiments are very insightful & I appreciate the fact that you've saved me from all that testing. I had a piano teacher in FL, who was also a neighbor & dear friend. He trained in France & would make this dish for us on many occasions. Thanks for stirring up fond memories of good times & GREAT music!


  15. Oh it does sound delicious. I love that you took a great recipe and made it even better by following your daughter's suggestions. Yum!

  16. Golly, I haven't made that in so long.... it is perfect for the cold winter days we've been having lately. The wine and cognac are so warming and good. It's a great recipe.

  17. Pretty amazing that you and Sam (My Carolina Kitchen) both posted an adaptation of Ina’s recipe for this dish on the same day. They both look and sound delicious and someday I must make this dish.

  18. Congrats on the gift!
    I don't eat chicken legs, so you will have to perfect a recipe with white meat for me! :)
    I am sure it was delicious!

  19. I tried coq au vin decades ago and was turned off by the color; now this is the way to go! will try it again, thanks!

  20. We got many threats from Old Man Winter, but (thankfully) were spared most of its wrath. Wishes for warm, sunny skies.

    Susan, this classic dish is one I haven't made in eons. And if anything's bound to motivate me enough to make it again, it is THAT picture!

  21. Now this is something I would like to make sometime. I will be sure and use your adaption. It looks wonderful :)

  22. Great recipe! That's happens to me every time we go on a trip in the winter. We just got 10" more snow and I can't wait to see dirt!

  23. You, Sam and Ina have inspired me. Thanks for doing all the delicious "research".


  24. This sounds delicious Susan,I love coq au vin !have a great day, hugs...

  25. Your pictures tell it all - DELICIOUS.

  26. Beautiful meal! I have never had coq au vin before!

  27. I haven't had coq au vin in ages. Thanks for the reminder along with this delicious sounding recipe.

  28. This is perfect for this icky rainy/snow night here in Boston!! The more wine the better :)


  29. Beautiful dish! I've never made this before! We've been spared the major snowstorms this year! :)

  30. Lovely gift from Wine Enthusiast, Susan.
    Coq au Vin is such a tasty dish...haven't made it in years. It's also a comforting dinner on a cold night...I can just imagine the wonderful fragrance coming from your kitchen while cooking! Roasting the chicken at the end is a great idea.

  31. Good for you, Susan
    I made it recently, too - and found that letting the chicken simmer in the sauce changed the purple to a beefy brown or a turkey meat brown. However; it also tasted beefy. Certainly nothing like chicken. I get that it is a dish for a tough old coq - but, these days, there aren't any tough old coqs in the market and I don't live on a farm. As the flavours are almost identical to Boeuf bourguignon, I prefer to just make that... Mine was yummy - take a look at it... but, I won't be making it again.
    Love chicken flavour too much. Does that make sense to you?Love your new-age version, though!

  32. this looks delicious and hope spring comes soon for you

  33. Your Coq au Vin is making my mouth water, Susan. What a beautiful dish. I've never tried to make it, but this kind of comfort food is irresistable. I hope you have seen the last of the snow.

  34. This looks like the perfect dinner for a snowy winter's day! It must smell divine as it cooks, and be such a treat to eat. I love the wine glasses you chose for the WINE ENTHUSIAST's web page--I must check them out!

    We had a week of temperatures in the high 50's and low 60's but tomorrow a blizzard is coming--Denver is expecting a foot of snow and where we are in the foothills will get more!

  35. I've been totally needing comfort food lately also! Love all the wine in know it just has to be awesome.

  36. Your purple chicken is much less purple than when I made it. It's such a delicious dish, and the aromas that fill the house, I suppose I'd eat it if it were blue. I hear ya about those snow storms. Denver had a foot not long ago and now 12 or more inches are forecast for today. Love our snow storms.

  37. That looks great and I love simple wine glasses that can be used for both red and white.

  38. I think we are living parallel lives. We left the snow and cold and spent a little time in Florida. Since we have returned we have had nothing but one storm after the other...second snowiest winter recorded. The pure white snow is pretty but I'm looking forward to some green. Your chicken dish sounds great...I have some thighs in the freezer that would be good this way.

  39. I love the wine glasses! We are getting a taste of warm weather this week and I am ready for Winter to move along...
    I crave comfort food year round and would enjoy a plate of coq-au-vin anytime! I have to admit to never making it at home though I wouldn't hesitate to order this special meal at a restaurant.
    Your coq-au-vin looks delicious and just like a dish in a French restaurant- lucky taste testers!

  40. A beautiful and mouth-watering meal! Looks so perfect with the wine! I would be one happy gal if served with this delicious meal!

  41. Coq au Vin is really a delicious meal. And your looks very good indeed. Have a nice week.

  42. Looks fantastic and perfect comfort food for this crazy winter we are all having! I can't wait for Spring.

  43. Yes, please. I'll take one dozen. hehe

  44. I'll bet your delicious meal tasted even better with a glass of wine in one of your beautiful wine glasses! Red is a favorite of mine too! Enjoy!

  45. This is awesome, I hope you don't mind me sharing it in one pf my blog posts :)


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