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Coq Au Vin

Coq Au Vin

January 31, 2016
Posted in: Totally Random | Reading Time: 4 minutes


Coq au Vin 343/365

"People eat because they're hungry. I want to make food that makes people stop eating." -- Bradley Cooper in Burnt.  

Have you seen the movie? I really liked it because the viewer had to read between the spoken lines. And the dishes served? Nothing short of a work of art. Just as beautiful as I'm sure delicious. Mr. Wild Dingo had to stop half way through the movie because the Chef (Bradley Cooper) had a melt down in the kitchen that seemed extreme to him. But I remember working as a waitress for an Italian restaurant and it really wasn't too far off from how great kitchens work. I lost count how many times the chef screamed at me. I'm not sure if it was the Italian in him or the chef in him that made him do it. But at the end of the day, he was a decent person.  Great chefs pour their souls into their art and sometimes they only have one chance not to screw it up. Histrionics in the kitchen just doesn't ruffle my feathers so badly. In fact, I kind of liked it. Feels like home.

I never really cooked much because I never really had time between working and athletic hobbies. But when I stopped working in 2010 for my health and our move to Switzerland, I had a lot of quality time on my hands to teach myself. Even so, I never got around to trying my hand at Coq au Vin, because I'm not a fan of chicken and it seemed like a lot of effort to go through just for a meat I don't find exciting. But this dish has changed my mind forever about chicken. Julia Child's recipe is slightly more complex in that she braises the mushrooms and shallots separately in different pans, she simmers her bacon before sauteing it, and she flambes the chicken in cognac before adding a bold wine like Cote de Rhone or Burgundy. I've yet to flambe anything yet because it scares the crap out of me. But the day I try it, there will be photos of either a master piece or a burned down kitchen.


I found this recipe below is simpler, using one stove-to-oven pan, yet still achieves a layered, complex flavor by braising ingredients separately before combining them all to be braised in a lighter Pinot Noir wine. I chose to use my new 5-quart enameled cast iron braiser that was a Christmas gift and it worked fantastically for this dish. The sauce was utterly devine and made the chicken so flavorful.


  • 1 bottle (750ml) Pinot Noir
  • 5 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, plus 2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 leek (cut lengthwise)
  • 6 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 1/4 lb. whole chicken legs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. small button mushrooms
  • 3/4 lb. shallots, halved
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F
  2. In a large saucepan over high heat, boil the wine until reduced by half, about 15 minutes
  3. Place the parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs and bay leaf against the cut side of the halved leek and tie with kitchen twine. Set aside
  4. In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pot
  5. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Set the pot over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown the chicken, turning once, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate
  6. Discard all but 2 Tbs. of the fat from the pot. Return the pot to medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes
  7. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl
  8. Reduce the heat to medium and melt the butter. Add the garlic, tomato paste and flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the reduced wine and the broth, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer
  9. Add the bacon, chicken, mushroom mixture, carrots and bouquet garni. Cover, transfer to the oven and bake until the chicken is tender, about 1 1/2 hours
  10. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Skim the fat off the sauce, set the pot over medium-high heat and simmer until the sauce is thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Discard the bouquet garni. Return the chicken to the pot. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

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4 comments on “Coq Au Vin”

  1. Mmmm looks yummy! I'm the opposite of you. Chicken is the only meat I like. I tolerate the rest, but don't really enjoy it. I enjoy pork when cooked certain ways, but I really don't like beef. I'm weird lol.

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