Coq au vin – Chicken in red wine sauce

Coq au vin in a cast iron pan.

Coq au vin – Chicken in red wine sauce

A classic french entree, coq au vin, or chicken in red wine sauce is a delicious and easy family dinner. We love hearty chicken meals, especially during the colder months, and this is one of my personal favorites. The french name makes it sound impressive, but this dish is actually very simple to make. The sauce is based on red wine, but we allow the alcohol to cook off completely, making the dish suitable for children, pregnant women and anyone else who avoid alcohol.

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Raw ingredients for coq au vin on plates: silverskin onions, mushrooms, celery, bacon and chicken thighs.

Ingredients for chicken in red wine sauce

Chicken thighs: For this recipe I prefer using bone-in, skin on chicken. Chicken thighs are best, drumsticks or chicken legs are the second best option. The red wine sauce has to cook for a while, and leaner pieces of chicken like chicken breast fillets will dry out and become inedible.

Red wine: Use any dry red wine for this recipe. I usually use a cheaper red wine for cooking. The alcohol will cook off naturally, but you can also use a alcohol free wine if that’s what you prefer to buy. The wine is a main component in the dish, and can not be substituted.

Pickled silverskin onions: Bring lots of flavor. These can be replaced with small shallots. If using shallots, I suggest sauteing them before adding to the sauce.

Bacon: Use thick cut bacon with little fat, as we remove the fat anyway. Back bacon works great.

Mushrooms: Baby or button mushrooms are great. You can use regular white mushrooms (champignon) or chestnut mushrooms, diced.

Diced garlic, mushrooms and celery on a plate.

How to make coq au vin

Dice the mushrooms, garlic and celery. Add the mushroom to a pan and cook until they reduce in size and are slightly softened. Remove from the pan and set them to the side. Heat some butter, oil or one calorie cooking spray in the pan, and add garlic and diced bacon. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the bacon has mostly cooked through. Add the chicken thighs, skin side up. Cook for about 5 minutes until they gain a golden color. Turn the chicken skin side down, and cook until the skin brown, about 5 more minutes. Turn them again with skin side up, and add good quality chicken stock, red wine, onions, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and mushrooms.

Leave to simmer for about 45 minutes, then add diced celery. Cook for another 30 minutes. The dish is done when the chicken is cooked through. Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 75°C or 165°F before finishing the dish. 5 minutes before serving, add 2 tbsp cornflour to a small bowl, and add a few spoons of the red wine sauce. Mix until smooth, and pour the mixture into the pan. This will thicken the sauce.

Coq au vin in a cast iron pan.

How to choose a wine for coq au vin

Any dry red wine will do for this dish. Common dry wines include Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese. The alcohol cooks off during cooking, so the dish is alcohol free regardless of which wine you choose. Since we’re adding stock, herbs, chicken and vegetables to the sauce as well as the wine, I don’t think it’s necessary to use a high quality wine. I usually use the cheap wines for cooking, and the more expensive ones for drinking!

Best side dishes to serve with this dish

Coq au vin has so much flavor, it’s perfect served with simple side dishes. Rice, mashed potatoes, dauphinois potatoes or garlic parmesan potato wedges are great. To add some vegetables, try oven roasted green beans or roasted brown sugar carrots.

Tips for a perfect result

  • Use bone-in skin on chicken. Chicken thighs or drumsticks will both work well. Stay away from chicken breast fillets; they will overcook and dry out too much.
  • Make sure to properly brown the chicken skin before making the sauce. This will give the dish so much more flavor.
  • Any dry red wine will do, just stay away from the fruity ones.
  • Instead of 200 ml chicken stock or chicken broth, you can use a chicken stock cube mixed with 200 ml boiling water.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Coq au vin - Chicken in red wine sauce

This classic french recipe makes a lovely, hearty dinner. Red wine makes an excellent sauce after the alcohol has cooked off, and the chicken is fall off the bone tender.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chicken, red wine
Servings: 6
Calories: 463kcal
Cost: Cheap

Ingredients

  • 1.1 kg chicken thighs bone-in, skin on
  • 150 g mushrooms
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 slices of back bacon
  • 10 pickled silverskin onions
  • 200 ml chicken stock
  • 500 ml red wine
  • 3 garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tbsp cornflour or cornstarch

Instructions

  • Dice the mushrooms and celery, and finely mince the garlic.
  • Remove the fat from the bacon, and dice finely.
  • Heat some butter, oil or cooking spray in a large frying pan or pot. Add the mushrooms, and fry until they have reduced in size and slightly softened. Remove them from the pan and set them to the side.
  • Add the garlic and bacon to the pan and fry until the bacon has mostly cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.
    bacon and garlic in frying pan
  • Add the chicken thighs with the skin side up, and cook until they start browning in color, about 5-7 minutes. Then turn them skin side down, and cook until they brown on the other side, about 5-7 minutes. You might have to cook the chicken in batches if your pan isn't big enough to fit all the chicken pieces without them being crammed together.
  • Turn them again with skin side up, and add the stock, red wine, silverskin onions, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and mushrooms. Leave to simmer for 45 minutes, preferably under a lid.
  • Add the diced celery, and leave to simmer until the chicken has cooked through and is tender, about 30 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken has reached an inner temperature of 75°C or 165°F before finishing the dish.
  • Add 2 tbsp cornflour to a small bowl, and add a few tbsp of the red wine sauce. Stir to combine until there's no lumps, then add the mixture to the pan. Distribute the cornflour through the sauce. Leave it to cook for another 5 minutes, and the sauce will have thickened.

Notes

Chicken thighs: For this recipe I prefer using bone-in, skin on chicken. Chicken thighs are best, drumsticks or chicken legs are the second best option. The red wine sauce has to cook for a while, and leaner pieces of chicken like chicken breast fillets will dry out and become inedible.
Red wine: Use any dry red wine for this recipe. I usually use a cheaper red wine for cooking. The alcohol will cook off naturally, but you can also use a alcohol free wine if that’s what you prefer to buy. The wine is a main component in the dish, and can not be substituted.
Pickled silverskin onions: Bring lots of flavor. These can be replaced with small shallots. If using shallots, I suggest sauteing them before adding to the sauce.
Bacon: Use thick cut bacon with little fat, as we remove the fat anyway. Back bacon works great.
Mushrooms: Baby or button mushrooms are great. You can use regular white mushrooms (champignon) or chestnut mushrooms, diced.

Tips for a great result

  • Make sure to properly brown the chicken skin before making the sauce. This will give the dish so much more flavor.
  • Any dry red wine will do, just stay away from the fruity ones. 
  • Instead of 200 ml chicken stock or chicken broth, you can use a chicken stock cube mixed with 200 ml boiling water.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Print Recipe

Other hearty chicken dinners

Nothing is like a good comforting chicken dinner during autumn. All I want is a warm, comforting meal, preferably something that’s been cooking for a while. chicken and peanut stew is fantastic, and I love a good slow cooker apricot chicken with thyme. creamy fajita pasta with chicken is a family favorite, and I also recommend chicken and chorizo pasta.

Coq au vin Pinterest image.

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