Weeknight Coq au Vin

Coq au Van

This is not Julia Child’s masterful rendition of the classic French chicken dish. This is Dave’s “it’s-7-freakin-degrees-out-there-and-I-need-me-some-comfort-food-right-now-dammit” version, by way of Cook’s Illustrated and the Star Tribune.

2 bottles (750 ml) medium-bodied red wine (One for you, one for the bird. A jammy Pinot Noir works great for both)
2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons dried parsley, divided
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
4 oz. thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4 -inch lardons (look it up, it’s worth it)
3-4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half crosswise
3 tablespoons butter
2 large shallots, chopped
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato powder
2 tablespoons flour (I used gluten-free baking mix)
Sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large sauce pan, combine 1 bottle of wine, stock, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to 3 cups (about 25 minutes).

Coq au Van

While that’s boiling, cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until browned and crispy. Transfer the bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Pour off half the fat and reserve.

Coq au Van

Once the wine and stock are reduced, pour through a strainer to remove the herbs, and set the reduced wine mixture aside for later.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the bacon fat in the Dutch oven over medium heat just until just smoking. Working in small batches, brown the chicken on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side). Add more bacon fat as needed. Transfer browned chicken to a plate.

When all of the chicken is browned, melt the butter in the Dutch oven over medium heat. When it stops foaming, add the onions and mushrooms. Cook and stir occasionally until browned, about 5-10 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the tomato powder and flour. Cook and stir until well combined.

Add the reduced wine mixture, scraping the bottom of the pot with a spatula to loosen the browned bits. Return the chicken and any juices that have accumulate on the plate. Add the reserved bacon to the pot and bring to a boil. Cover and deduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Give it a stir, crack the lid about half an inch, and increase the heat just a titch. Continue to cook, stirring every so often, until chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced a bit (about another 25 minutes).

Coq au Van

Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, top with remaining parsley and serve immediately over egg noodles or mashed potatoes (or fauxtatoes from She Cooks He Cleans, in this case) with the remaining bottle of wine.

The Verdict Verdict: ★★★★★
Nothing but goodness here – tender chicken rolling in a savory sauce full of onions, mushrooms, and bacon.  Reducing the wine and stock in advance goes a long way in creating a wonderfully umami-rich sauce that tastes like you’ve been cooking it all day long.

The only changes I would make would be to go with the more classic pearl onions (frozen and bagged, thank you) and maybe add a bit of carrots for depth and color.

The Nutrition
Comforting doesn’t have to destroy your diet. By bumping up the mushrooms and  dialing back on the butter a little from the original recipe, this 8-serving dish is 400 calories and 10 Weight Watchers points.

One year ago – Roast Chicken with Winter Veggies
Two years ago – New Pans!

3 thoughts on “Weeknight Coq au Vin”

  1. I just posted a coq au vin recipe this week. Like yours, it wasn’t Julia’s version but the first time I’ve made it and am now a fan. I want to try Ina’s version and then Julia’s. I like the idea of using chicken thighs. Yesterday we went to Pallatte’s restaurant in Downtown Denver. Owned by renowned chef Kevin Taylor. Coq was a special on the lunch menu so had to order it. He used a whole chicken leg. Served swimming in the broth with potatoes and oyster mushrooms. He topped it with a swirl of basil oil. It was fabulous. So many different versions.

    1. I saw your recipe about two minutes after I posted mine. Yours looks great as well. I like your addition of carrots and celery. That sweet basil oil sounds interesting too.

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