There’s a wise saying that says, “you only need four things in life – family, friends, great food and great wine“….ok, so we just made that up…but doesn’t it just ring true?! Today we’re featuring a classic dish that is cooked with great wine, and is the perfect meal to share with friends and family: Coq Au Vin!
One of the most well known of French cuisine dishes, the classic Coq Au Vin recipe – which easily translates into “chicken in wine” (but sounds oh-so much fancier in French) is a sort of rustic country recipe given a sophisticated twist. The ingredients are farm basics – chicken and fresh vegetables. But it’s that robust flavor of a fine red wine that gives this dish that sensual, luxurious touch.
COQ AU VIN RECIPE ESSENTIALS: THYME, WINE & TIME
There are several steps to a Coq Au Vin recipe, and a most important ingredient: patience. Although the dish is called simply Chicken in Wine, it should really be called SLOW-Cooked chicken in wine…you’ll need wine and time! This recipe needs long cooking times, because the idea is to break down the meat until it’s superbly tender, with nary a hint of toughness, and for the flavors of the vegetables, wine and aromatics to fully blend in together so that every bite is bursting with flavor.
SLOW FOOD, SLOW COOKER!
Since this is one of those “classic French cuisine” dishes, you’ll find tons of results out there for Coq Au Vin recipe. However, the recipe we’re featuring this week was a standout. Slow Cooked Coq Au Vin by I-Hua, from The Chronicles of Ms. I-Hua & The Boy, an amazing cooking blog from beautiful Australia. Find more fun and delicious recipes by I-Hua at www.msihua.com.
This Coq Au Vin recipe might be “slow cooked” but it’s definitely not time consuming. I-Hua’s trick is using a slow cooker for the job, maintaining all the beauty of this traditional recipe but using the modern time-saving device to avoid slaving over the stove. The result is an amazingly tender chicken, incredibly flavorful, perfect to feed a crowd of hungry and exacting foodies!
COQ AU VINE RECIPE & WINE TIP
A Coq Au Vin recipe usually calls for Burgundy wine (the region where this dish originates), but this rule is not set in stone – you can use Beaujolais (which is the wine of choice for our feature recipe), or any other full-bodied red. It doesn’t even have to be French…but to be truly authentic, it should be!
- 1 whole Chicken (chopped into 8 pieces - thigh, drumstick, breast & wings)
- 7 oz of Bacon (cut into batons)
- 2 cups (500ml) of Beaujolais Red Wine
- 1/2 cup (125ml) of Semi-Sweet Sherry Wine
- 2 1/2 cups of Chicken Stock
- 1 Tbsp. of Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp. of Tomato Paste
- 2 stalks of Carrot (chop into 2-inch pieces)
- 12-15 Pickled Pearl Onions (from a jar)
- 7oz of Button Mushrooms (trimmed & halved)
- 4 cloves of Garlic (chopped finely)
- 1 large Onion (chopped finely)
- 4 sprigs of Thyme
- 1 Bay Leaf
- Parsley Leaf (chopped finely) for garnishing
- 1 Tbsp of Plain Flour
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- In a large pan, heat olive oil on medium heat and fry the bacon batons until most of the fat is rendered. Transfer speck to a bowl.
- In the same pan (on medium heat), brown the thighs, drumsticks and wings on both sides. This should take about 3-4 minutes each side. Remove chicken pieces.
- Place chicken breast (skin side down) in the same pan and fry for 2 minutes and remove.
- Transfer fat from the pan into a separate bowl (for the slurry) but keep at least 2 tablespoons of it in the pan.
- Return the pan to medium heat and add chopped onion. When the onion starts to soften, add in garlic and cook until fragrant (careful not to burn the garlic).
- Pour in the Sweet Sherry and start deglazing the pan by scrapping off the fond at the bottom of the pan.
- Once most of the liquid is evaporated, add in the Beaujolais wine, chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf, carrots and tomato paste. Simmer (low heat) for 5 minutes.
- Place chicken pieces and speck into the slow cooker. Pour contents from the pan into the slow cooker, making sure that the chicken pieces are covered with liquid (add more chicken stock if required).
- Cook on low for 4-5 hours (or until meat is very tender). Add in pickled pearl onions and mushrooms at the last hour.
- Transfer chicken pieces, speck, pickled onions and mushroom from the slow cooker to a dish and cover to keep warm.
- Strain your stock from the slow cooker through a fine sieve and discard any herbs, chopped onions & garlic.
- Heat the stock in a pan (on medium heat) to reduce it a bit. Using the fat kept earlier, mix 2 tablespoons of fat with 1 tablespoon of flour to make your thickener.
- Add 1 teaspoon of the flour and fat mixture at a time and stir into the sauce. Do this until you are happy with the thickness of the sauce.
- If you prefer a thicker sauce, keep adding more of the flour and fat mix, but keep in mind that you might not have enough sauce to cover the chicken.
- Once the sauce is done, return the chicken pieces and other ingredients into the pan to reheat and coat with the sauce.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with chopped parsley.