Coq au vin is a French chicken and mushroom stew is so comforting and delicious. It’s called Coq Au Vin, which translates to chicken with wine sauce, and you will love it as an alternative to beef stew. Chicken pieces simmer with bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, and root vegetables in plenty of red wine. I’ll go over the best wine to use, how to make this stew for two or more, and exactly why you need more French food in your life.
I have a long history with coq au vin in my life. The first time I ever met my then-boyfriend, now-husband’s Dad, I made Patricia Wells’ recipe for Coq au Vin Blanc for dinner. Coq au vin blanc means that the stew is made with white wine instead of the traditional red wine. Anyway, I was nervous, because the blanc version is full of spring vegetables, which people have lots of opinions about, as you know.
So, I served him a big bowl, packed with mushrooms and artichokes, and held my breath. Then, he told me those were two of his favorite vegetables! Is it any wonder he’s now my father-in-law? The three of us finished the entire pan of stew, and I’ve been making coq au vin ever since.
The recipe below is the traditional one, made with red wine, and it serves two. However, you can absolutely double or triple it to serve more. The leftovers are incredible, because it seems to get better if it sits for one night. Another French dish you might like is my Endives au Gratin.
How to Make Coq au Vin
The best thing to make coq au vin in is this traditional French Dutch oven. I’ve had one in my kitchen for nearly a decade, and the uses are endless. It cleans up like it’s brand new, and I couldn’t live without it. The reason Dutch ovens are preferred for cooking is because they’re heavy, which distributes heat evenly when cooking. You can achieve incredible crusts and golden brown results when cooking, and we all know that golden brown equals delicious!
So, the basis for this stew is to sauté bacon, onion, carrots, garlic, mushrooms, bay leaves and thyme in a bit of olive oil. The fragrance of this alone is enough to make anyone swoon! Then, the chicken pieces go in and sear until a golden brown crust forms on both sides. Finally, the tomatoes, chicken stock and red wine go in to make a delicious braising liquid.
While the stew simmers and becomes meltingly tender, you can make your side dish! I highly recommend serving this over my make ahead mashed potatoes. I store those in mini loaf pans in the freezer, so I always have 2 servings ready to go! You can also make my instant pot mashed potatoes for two for a small serving.
- Olive Oil. Just a small amount of oil, to get things going. It doesn’t have to be extra virgin, since this stew has a long simmer time.
- Bacon. Slice the bacon into 1″ thin strips, also called lardons. The bacon grease melts into this dish, and creates lovely flavors for the chicken to stew in. Don’t skip it, and don’t substitute turkey bacon, because it lacks the fat content.
- Onion. One small onion, finely diced; about 1/2 cup.
- Carrots. Because this stew braises for a long time, cut the carrots into 1-inch chunks on an angle. This will help them hold their shape.
- Mushrooms. Just one cup of sliced mushrooms, but not sliced too thinly. They impart a lovely meatiness to this dish, and mushrooms cooked in wine is one of the greatest tastes on earth!
- Bay Leaves. Three small dried bay leaves, or 5 fresh ones.
- Thyme. Use 1 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves, or one small bunch of fresh thyme. No need to pull the leaves off the stems if it’s fresh, the leaves will fall off. Simply remove the stems before serving. Do not use dried ground thyme.
- Chicken. Two small, about 3/4 pound total, of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Chop it into 2-inch pieces. You can use bone-in chicken for a richer flavor. Just sear it skin-side down, and leave it whole while it braises. I use chicken breast because it takes the cook time down to 1 hour.
- Crushed Tomatoes. Just one cup of crushed tomatoes from a can, or 3 large fresh tomatoes, pureed.
- Chicken Stock. Chicken stock is a bit richer than chicken broth, so try to find stock. You can always use my instant pot chicken stock.
- Red Wine. Since coq au vin is a classic dish from Burgundy, it makes sense to use a Burgundy wine. The most similar American wine is a Pinot Noir, which is dry, light, and slightly fruity.
- Gather all ingredients, and pre-chop the chicken, bacon, carrots, onion, and mushrooms. Have everything measured out and ready to go.
- Add the olive oil to the Dutch oven pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, onion, carrots, mushrooms, bay leaves and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally until very fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, and cook another 1 minute, just until fragrant. Next, add the chopped chicken pieces. Cook the chicken on the first side, until it starts to sear and turn golden brown in a few places, about 4-5 minutes. Don’t stir while the chicken sears on one side; flip the chicken pieces to sear the opposite side, too.
- Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth, and wine. Add a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the bay leaves from the stew before serving with mashed potatoes.
Another chicken stew you might like is my Green Chile Chicken Stew.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, sliced into lardons (1" rectangles)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1â? pieces
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 3 small bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2â? chunks
- 8 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup red wine (Cabernet or Burgundy)
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- Gather ingredients, and have ready a 4-quart enamel-coated cast iron pan.
- Add the olive oil to the pan, and heat over medium heat. Add the bacon, onion, carrots, mushrooms, bay leaves and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally until very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Next, add the chicken pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes until seared on the first side. Flip the chicken by giving it a stir, and cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes also.
- Stir in the tomatoes, chicken broth, and wine. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and let simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaves, taste for seasoning, and serve over mashed potatoes.
Bacon: Slice the bacon into 1" thin strips, also called lardons. Please, don't substitute turkey bacon, because it lacks the same fat content.
Onion: One small onion equals 1/2 cup, diced.
Carrots: Because this stew has a long cook time, cut the carrots into 1-inch chunks on an angle. This will help them hold their shape in the final dish.
Mushrooms: Just one cup of sliced white button mushrooms, but not sliced too thinly. They impart a lovely meatiness to this dish, and mushrooms cooked in wine is one of the greatest tastes on earth!
Bay Leaf: Use three small dried bay leaves, or 5 fresh ones.
Dried Thyme: Use 1 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves, or one small bunch of fresh thyme.
Chicken: We need 3/4 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Chop it into 2-inch pieces. You can use two bone-in chicken breasts for a richer flavor. Just sear it skin-side down, and leave it whole while it braises.
Crushed Tomatoes: Just one cup of canned crushed tomatoes, or 3 large fresh tomatoes, pureed in a food processor.
Red Wine: Use a French Burgundy wine or an American Pinot Noir, because they are both dry, light, and slightly fruity.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 352Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 715mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 33g