Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin

After trying out countless of Coq au Vin recipes, I chucked them all away and cooked the dish from scratch….my way. I never did get hold of a rooster as is the traditional way of preparing this classic dish. Nor did I drown the bird in a whole bottle of red wine. None the less, just one bite is to die for…


In one recipe I had to marinate the chicken in red wine for 2 days in the fridge, cook it, and let it marinate for another 2 days. Sounds like overkill? It was. I’m all for marinating but at times it is possible for flavours to be completely overwhelming and not too pleasing. If you really want to let the meat soak up all the right amount of flavour, cook it, let it marinate overnight and enjoy it the next evening.


Personally, I don’t like to drink red wine but have litres of the stuff stashed in the pantry, ready to be used in cooking when needed. Following pedantic recipes using only red wine as the cooking liquid made the dish just too winey (and left me whiney), so I decided to dilute it with some chicken stock. Result? Perfection.

Meat Tenderness

After experimenting with cooking on the hob and in the oven, and different cooking times, the oven came out on top. If you have the time, slow is the way to go. The longer the better. When it is time to serve up, the meat will fall off the bones and melt in your mouth.

Phew, that’s one project successfully ticked off. Now it’s time to figure out my latest obsession – Lemon Meringue Pie…stay tuned.

Coq au Vin
Serves 2
Preparation: 20 mins – Cooking: +2 hours
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 150g (5 oz) bacon lardons
  • 30g (1 oz) butter
  • 2 chicken legs
  • 6 baby onions [shallots], peeled
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2.5ml (½ tsp) dried thyme
  • 250ml (1 cup) red wine
  • 250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) tomato purée
  • 5ml (1 tsp) brown sugar
  • 200g (7 oz) button mushrooms, washed
  • 15ml (1 tbsp) corn flour (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 170°C/350°F/gas 4).
  2. Heat the oil in a large cast iron pot and fry the bacon until lightly browned. Remove the bacon and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter in the oil and fry the chicken pieces until browned.
  4. Add the bacon, onions, carrots, bay leaf, thyme, wine, stock, purée and sugar to the meat.
    When the sauce is bubbling, place the lid on the pot and transfer it to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. After the elapsed time, lower the temperature to 130°C (fan 110°C/250°F/gas 1) and cook for another hour.
  6. After an hour, place the mushrooms with the chicken and cook for another 30 minutes at 130°C (fan 110°C/250°F/gas 1).
  7. Place the pot on the hob on low heat, remove the chicken and vegetables with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
  8. Mix the corn flour with a bit of water and slowly pour into the sauce, stirring at the same time. When the sauce has thickened to your desire, serve immediately.
  9. Alternatively, let it cool down (outside the fridge if you live in a cool climate) and marinate further overnight. Gently heat up the next day and enjoy!
  • Mash or boiled rice is all you need to truly enjoy this meal.
Serving Suggestion
  • If you can’t get hold of lardons, any bacon will do.
  • Use a bouquet garni if you can, and leave out the thyme and bay leaf in the recipe.
  • If you are a red wine lover, use 500ml (2 cups) of wine and leave out the stock.
  • If you’re lucky enough to own a huge cast iron pot, don’t be afraid to double up on the ingredients to provide for more people.

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  1. says

    Beautiful! And I think your modifications are just right – I, too, think it’s too “winy” and dilute mine with stock (or, horror or horrors, I use white wine :)).

    • Bill G says

      How can you have some wine that NEEDS using.
      Wine is not a leftover ingredient like cold potatoes.
      Although some rough wine may be appropriate for some cooking, generally, If your wine is not good enough to drink then it is unlikely to be good enough to cook with.
      A bottle that has been sitting unopened and upright above your cooker and in the Sun should probably be used in the same way that Coke type soft drinks should be used ie as toilet cleaner.

  2. Jo Bryan says

    Now if it wasn’t for the fact my family want to take me out for a mothers day lunch tomorrow, I would be digging out a bottle of red to start marinating.
    Great recipe, thanks.

  3. says

    Really love the picture in this post, what f/number did you use just out of curiousity? I’d take a guess and say 2.2 on your 50mm?

    anyway, just wanted to say great post!

  4. Pam says

    I wholeheartedly agree with your reviving the recipe your way. I remember liking coq au vin quite a bit when I was a kid, as a clasic french recipe. I ate it i Quebec summers ago and it was cloying and unpleasant, despite the fact that it should be good with the combination of ingredients that comprise it. I make a less fussy fricassee of chicken that I like so much more.

  5. Mwangi says

    Michelle: You win! Earlier this week I made coq au vin following this recipe. It was wonderful but I felt that I had overcooked it a little. So I wandered off to another recipe from Bon Appetit that required 1-2 days of marinating and another day or “resting” after cooking. (My kitchen looked like it had been bombed out when I was done.)

    It was no contest. Yours was far far better — and so much easier too. I’ll just need to watch the overcooking.

  6. says

    Thanks, Mwangi! I’m so glad someone agrees with my recipe, otherwise I’m living in a fool’s paradise. :-) I’m not quite sure what you mean by overcooking though. If you braise it hard (i.e. at high temperature) the meat can come out stringy and dried out, but if you do it slow at a low temperature the meat will most likely fall off the bone and will be meltingly tender. I hope yours come out perfect next time!

  7. says

    Hi! Just letting you know I cooked your recipe tonight (adapted it a little) and posted it on my new blog! Thanks for sharing it.

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