Sunday, 8 March 2015

Coq Au Vin

Just as I was getting ready to launch my annual rant on the Summers, the rain Gods obliged. Some unseasonal showers, the temperatures dipped and the world was set right again!
With my new found enthusiasm for savoury, dinner posts, I thought I make use of the good weather. I discovered this beautiful, rustic French stew, Coq au Vin, over the Winter. Made it on a particularly cold night and we were completely captivated with it and I rued the fact that I never managed any photos to make a post out of it. So, I thought I'd make it again and sneak a post because let's face it, we can't stave off Summer for much longer.
It is a stew where the chicken is braised in red wine with bacon, carrots, mushrooms and some herbs and garlic. They say every home in France has their own coq au vin recipe. I used this recipe by the 'Barefoot Contessa', Ina Garten. It is a very forgiving recipe and use the recipe as a broad guideline, varying the ingredients as per your preference.
Over the slow braise, all the flavours meld together to create a beautiful, hearty, rustic stew. The wine envelops the entire stew with a beautiful dark, sensuous hue although, you can't really discern the alcohol. Rather, it adds a certain complexity and richness to the stew.
I served it with some simple mashed potatoes, perfect to mop up all the gravy.  
Out here in India, these are the last few days of tolerable weather but for all those for whom Winter is not showing any signs of ending, I can't think of a better recipe for a cosy dinner!
Hope you had a lovely weekend!!

Coq Au Vin

Recipe Source: Ina Garten, minimally adapted

Note: For this post, I made half of this recipe. Serves 2.

  • 4 ounces bacon, diced
  • 1 chicken, cut in eighths
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1/2 inches
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
  • 375 mls dry red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 150 gms button mushrooms, thickly sliced

  • Pre-heat the oven to 120 deg C.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron post. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.
  • Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.
  • Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot.
  • Add the wine, chicken stock, bay leaf and thyme and bring to a simmer.
  • Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.
  •  Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew.
  • In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew.
  • Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste.
  • Serve hot.


  1. Nice. I think the classical recipe calls for pearl onions, hard to find here, do you think the small onions available might work?

    They do have such a strong flavor though...

    1. Hi Anoop,

      Yes, the recipe does call for pearl onions, and since we don't get them here, I left them out. I suggest you do the same.. you won't miss them! Because if you use the small onions that we get here, there is a risk that the taste will be all off. Hope this helps!


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