One of my favorite warming winter recipes is Coq au Vin, or chicken braised in wine. I think Coq au Vin is to chicken what Beef Bourguignon is to beef. It takes an ingredient as simple as chicken and transforms it into something so mouthwatering it can be served for a special occasion! Like Beef Bourguignon which transforms stewing cuts of beef into something elegant, Coq au Vin is best made with the dark meat of chicken which helps to make this an economical meal.
Braising is a little time consuming but chicken is really the quickest meat to braise so it can even be accomplished on a weeknight. Braising basically involves these three steps: browning, deglazing with liquid, and simmering over a low heat covered until tender. Let me outline this recipe step by step for you.
Coq Au Vin
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Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours
3 1/2 - 4 pounds dark meat of chicken
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil
4 ounces bacon, diced
8 ounces mushrooms, whole or sliced in half if big (you can use any kind of mushroom)
2 stalks celery, diced
6 ounces pearl onions, peeled or 1 medium onion diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 cups red wine (Merlot, Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon all work great)
2 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
Step 1: Season and Brown the Meat
Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat a deep skillet over a moderately high heat. I like to use a surface thermometer and heat the pan to 425 degrees. Make sure your skillet has a lid; you will need that later.
Add butter and oil to the pan and add the chicken. Brown each side, 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure to take the time to really brown the meat, the brown bits in the pan and on the chicken add a real depth of flavor to the dish.
Step 2: Brown the remaining ingredients
Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Note the brown bits in the bottom of the pan. As long as they aren’t burnt, leave them in. This is called fond and will add a ton of flavor to your dish. When we add the wine and chicken stock later, it will remove this from the bottom of your pan and it will be incorporated into the sauce.
Add the bacon to the pan and brown until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. It will be added back in to the dish right before serving.
Add the mushrooms and sauté till brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the celery, onions and carrots to the mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add garlic and thyme to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes.
Step 3: Braise the Chicken
Add the chicken back to the pan.
Add the wine and chicken stock to the pan along with a little salt and pepper.
Cover the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 2 hours. Every 20 to 30 minutes give it a stir and turn the chicken over.
I like to let the chicken rest for 15 or 20 minutes before eating. Take a final taste and adjust salt and pepper to you liking. Add the bacon back in and served with garlic mashed potatoes, a green salad and you will have the perfect meal.
Everyone pretty much loves Coq au Vin, kids included. It's easy to leave out any of the ingredients or switch them up. If you don’t like mushrooms, just leave them out. Not an onion lover? Not an issue - there is so much flavor coming from other ingredients, you will still have a satisfying dish.
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Want to learn more about braising? We've got you covered with our virtual cooking class where our chef will walk you through this recipe live on Thursday, January 14 at 6pm CST. Choose to cook along in real-time with us or watch as a demonstration.