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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: 534kcal
Author: Tonje
Cost: Cheap


  • 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 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch / cornflour


  • 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.
    close up of raw chicken thighs.
  • 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.
    cooking chicken in wine.
  • 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 tablespoon cornflour to a small bowl, and add a few tablespoon 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.


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.


Calories: 534kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 186mg | Sodium: 244mg | Potassium: 617mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 143IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 2mg