Schatzi: There are probably as many recipes for coq au vin as there are cooks, it being one of the twentieth century’s popular recipes. (We can probably assign a large portion of the blame for that to Julia Child.) According to my Larousse, “In traditonal stock farming, cocks which were good breeders were kept as long as they could fulfil their function. They would be several years old before they were killed and therefore needed long and slow braising in a casserole (coq au vin). Nowadays, coq au vin is usually made with a chicken or hen.” This development is great for many of us, since it’s not that easy to find a rooster suitable for coq au vin in your average supermarket, though it is worth trying to find a stewing chicken. Though the dish’s popularity skyrocketed in the Sixties, the Food Timeline dates the recipe only to 1913, though it is generally acknowleged to have been around long before then.
I found my recipe in the Oregonian’s FoodDay in the late winter/early spring of 2007, and made it for my then-boyfriend who praised it inordinately. I’ve made it a couple times since then, always sans mushrooms, sometimes with skins, and it has always been delicious. I’m especially fond of the little steamed potatoes, which after seasoning are tasty little bombs of potato-y goodness. Steam the potatoes while the coq simmers; I use my trusty and ancient rice cooker for perfect potatoes.
Unlike the FoodDay (which I can’t link you to because I cannot find it on their site), I added celery to mine for an earthier flavor. I also use wine almost exclusively, rather than the insipid wine and chicken broth combination they favored. I usually just dump the bottle in, reserving a generous glassful for myself. If the chicken isn’t quite covered, then I top it off with broth. Excellent leftovers will result, so plan on eating it for a few days.
Coq au vin
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 3-4 slices thick bacon, cut into pieces
- 12 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
- kosher salt & ground pepper
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 medium carrots, sliced on the diagonal
- 3 celery stalks, sliced on the diagonal
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons flour
- about 2.5 cups red wine (pinot noir or Burgundy)
- some chicken stock (less than a cup)
- Heat Dutch oven or large, lidded pot over med-high and cook bacon til browned. Remove bacon to drain on paper towels, leaving fat in pot.
- Season thighs generously with kosher salt and ground pepper. Brown in batches in the bacon fat, about 4 min per side. Transfer to plate and set aside.
- Saute carrots in pot about 4 min, then add onion and saute another 4 min. Add garlic and saute about a minute. Stir in tomato paste and flour, and cook a minute.
- Toss chicken back into the pot along with herbs and pour wine over til it just covers. You can add chicken broth if you’re low on wine or a total wimp. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to simmer. Cook ten minutes, uncover, then cook another ten, til chicken is tender. Remove lid and reduce slightly over low heat, if desired. Remove herb twigs and bay leaves. Stir in bacon and serve.
- 2 lbs small red new potatoes (this time, I used a medley of red, yellow, and blue, and they turned out beautifully)
- 1/3-1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon butter
- kosher salt and ground pepper
Steam potatoes over salted water 15-20 min, til tender. Put potatoes in a bowl and toss with butter, parsley, and salt & pepper to taste.