Coq au Vin

adapted from Cook's Illustrated

October 2007 - I was feeling the urge to cook for our Halloween party. Something savory and surprising. Cooks Illustrated came through again. I set this on the table and moved back to see what the guests thought. "Ummmmm," was the common response. Even Diane, a well trained cook herself, tasted it and asked, "who made this?" She couldn't believe I did. Then when I told her it took less than two hours she was incredulous. I was pleased.

While this cooks up quickly, it has the silky mouth coating feel of traditional coq au vin. The depth of rich flavor is quite a surprise. It's a great Valentine's Day meal.

Feb 2016 - Carolyn made this for our Superbowl party. Under time pressure - and some thought for our waistlines - she didn't add the final butter and tablespoon of wine. It was still very, very good but did lack that unctuous mouth feel that comes with the extra butter.

Total time: 90 minutes
Serves 6, easily

A. chicken broth, unsalted 2 cups  
parsley 12 sprigs  
thyme, fresh 2 sprigs  
  bay leaf, dried 1 leaf  
  Pinot Noir 1 bottle I recommend sticking with Pinot Noir for this dish.

Put the ingredients in a saucepan - but save out one tablespoon of the wine for later.

Bring to a simmer over medium high heat.

Cook until the volume is reduced to 3 cups - about 30 minutes on a simmer.

B. bacon 4 ounces Cut into 0.25 inch pieces
chicken thighs 2.5 pounds Boned and skinless.
ingredient amount prep

Sprinkle the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper, but don't use too much - this dish can easily become overly salty.

In a large Dutch oven, cook the bacon until it's well browned, but not burned! Remove the bacon to a paper towel to drain. Keep 2 tablespoons of the fat, throw the rest away.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the Dutch oven over medium high until it just begins to smoke. Add half the chicken and cook until just browned (2 minutes a side). Remove to a plate and repeat with second half of the chicken.

C. pearl onions, frozen 24 onions Defrost and pat dry with paper towels.
cremini mushrooms 8 ounces Remove stems and quarter them.
butter, unsalted 3 tablespoons  

With the Dutch oven now empty, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium high. Once it stops foaming add the onions and mushrooms. Cook them stirring from time to time until they are brown - about 10 minutes.


D. garlic 2 cloves Minced
  tomato paste 1 tablespoon  
  flour 2 tablespoons  
  black pepper, ground 0.25 teaspoon  
  Wine mixture from step A.  
  Chicken and bacon from step B.  

Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic; cook about 30 seconds.

Add tomato paste and flour. Stir continuously and cook for one minute.

Add the wine mixture. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits off the bottom of the Dutch oven.

Add 0.25 teaspoon of ground black pepper.

Add chicken (and any juice that has come out) and cooked bacon.

Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce again to medium low. Cover the pot and simmer about 30 minutes, stir once or twice.

E. butter, unsalted 2 tablespoons  
  Pinot Noir 1 tablespoon  
  parsley, fresh 2 tablespoons Chopped.

Remove chicken to a large bowl. Cover it with foil to keep it warm.

Turn up the heat to medium high and simmer until the sauce is thick and silky, about 5 minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon of wine.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken to the pot and sprinkle with chopped parsley.


I suggest serving with mashed Yukon Gold potatoes to contain all that rich sauce.