Coq au Vin (Rooster in wine) is classic French rustic cooking at its best.
It is a dish made for sharing with the family around the table accompanied by a glass, or maybe two, of a good French burgundy like our favourite St Emilion.
A classic coq au vin uses red wine specifically Burgundy, but different parts of France have their own versions including coq au Jaune (Jura), coq au Reisling (Alsace) and of course coq au Champagne.
I like Raymond Blanc’s recipe, it’s rich, hearty and reminds me of our honeymoon which we spent in Bordeaux.
Coq au Vin
For the chicken
- 1.5 kg organic or free range chicken cut into 10 pieces (you could ask your butcher to do this)
- 1 tbsp plain flour heaped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the marinade
- 1 litre full-bodied red wine such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon
- 3 carrots medium, cut into slanted slices 1 cm (½ in) thick
- 2 sticks celery cut into slices 1 cm (½ inch) thick
- 20 baby onions peeled but left whole
- 1 tsp black peppercorns crushed
- 1 bouquet garni parsley stalks, 2 bay leaves and 6 sprigs of thyme, tied together
For the garnish
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200 g smoked streaky bacon rind removed, diced
- 400 g small button mushrooms trimmed
- 1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley chopped
To Make the Marinade:
- Bring the red wine to the boil and reduce it by a third, to remove the alcohol and concentrate the colour and flavour.
- Leave to cool.
- In a bowl, mix the chicken pieces, carrots, celery, baby onions, peppercorns and bouquet garni together and pour the cooled red wine over them.
- Cover with cling film, refrigerate and leave to marinate for 24 hours.
To Cook the Chicken:
- Place a colander over a large bowl and put the chicken mixture in it to drain off the marinade.
- Leave for a minimum of 1 hour to remove excess liquid.
- Separate the chicken, vegetables and herbs, and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Season, the chicken with 4 pinches of salt and 4 pinches of freshly ground black pepper. Reserve the liquid.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
- Sprinkle the flour on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 8–10 minutes, until it is very lightly coloured. Set aside.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2.
- On a high heat, in a large, heavy-based casserole, heat the olive oil and colour the chicken pieces in it for 5–7 minutes on each side. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate and set it aside.
- Add the drained vegetables and herbs to the casserole.
- Lower the heat to medium-high and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly coloured.
- Spoon out most of the fat from the casserole, add the toasted flour and stir into the vegetables for a few seconds.
- On a medium heat, whisk in the wine marinade little by little; this will create a sauce and prevent lumps from forming.
- Bring to the boil and skim any impurities from the surface. The wine marinade will be slightly thickened and have the consistency of a light sauce.
- Add the chicken pieces and return to a boil. Cover with a lid and cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
To Make the Garnish:
- Over a medium heat, in a medium non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the diced bacon in it for 30 seconds.
- Add the button mushrooms and cook for a further 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Mix the diced bacon and button mushrooms into the coq au vin.
- Sprinkle with the parsley and serve piping hot, straight from the casserole.