Coq au vin is without a doubt one of my favorites among the French bistro dishes. It’s quite a simple dish containing mushrooms, onions, wine, herbs and of course a chicken or, if you want to be traditional, a rooster. Each on their own, these ingredients just mentioned are all things, I always love to have at hand in my kitchen, but put together they create something almost magical, which makes the entire kitchen smell absolutely divine as it slowly simmers on the hob.
Many people would probably think of coq au vin as one of those dishes best saved for a cold or rainy day, but this version with cream and white wine instead of the traditional red is fantastic eaten under the open sky with a cold glass of white wine and some good bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
If you prefer the more traditional coq au vin made with red wine, you can simply just skip the cream and change the white wine for a red but otherwise follow the recipe below.
You can choose to flambé the chicken in a bit of brandy, which I almost always did when I first started cooking this dish ten years ago. However, after too many experiences with flames up to the ceiling (and an incident with burned eyelashes – not mine luckily) I often skip this step, and it is still delicious.
This recipe feeds about four people. I chose to cook the dish in a cast iron pot in the oven, but you can also just let it simmer gently on the hob instead.
- 1 chicken
- 12 shallots, peeled
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 250 g mushrooms, cut into big chunks
- 150 g of streaky bacon, chopped
- a bottle of white wine
- 500 ml chicken stock
- a few sprigs of thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 tbsp flour
- 150 ml cream
- salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 150/C.
Start by frying the bacon in a hot pan until crispy. Set aside.
Chop the chicken into about 8 pieces and rub with salt and pepper (if you want you can cut out the backbone and remove the wing tips, but cook them with rest of the chicken before discarding them, as they will add flavor to the sauce). Brown the chicken well on all sides in the same pan with a small amount of oil if necessary. Set aside.
In the same pan sauté the shallots for a few minutes before adding the mushrooms and garlic. Cook for another few minutes, add the flour and stir well. Add the wine a little at a time and while stirring well to create a thicker sauce. Add the chicken stock, the chicken pieces, most of the crispy bacon (save a bit to garnish the dish), thyme and bay leaves. Bring to boil, cover with a lid and leave to simmer in the oven for about an hour or until the chicken is tender.
Add cream and season with salt and pepper. If you want a stronger tasting sauce you can leave the coq au vin to simmer on the hob without the lid until the sauce has slightly reduced.
Just before serving sprinkle with the rest of the bacon. Serve with rice, mashed or oven roasted potatoes and baguette.