Coq au vin is one of those French recipes known around the world, yet most people think that the recipe is for chicken. Coq au vin, or rooster in wine, was created as a delicious way to tenderize a tough, old bird in poor households. Today, chicken is widely used and still creates a fabulous dish, but if you can get your hands on an old bird, do try the authentic recipe.
Coq au vin is an excellent, hearty meal that needs little else except good wine to be complete.
- 5 lb chicken (rinsed, patted dry, cut into 6 large pieces)
- 2 medium carrots (cut into chunks)
- 2 medium white onion (chopped)
- 1 stalk celery, (chopped)
- 1 medium tomato, (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 5 cups dry red wine
- 1/4 cup Cognac
- 1/4 canola or extra-light olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 8 ounces pearl onions
- 8 ounces mushrooms (cleaned and thinly sliced)
- 6 ounces good-quality sliced bacon (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons butter (softened)
Place the chicken in a large, deep, non-reactive casserole dish.
Layer the carrots, onion, celery, tomato, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, parsley, and pepper evenly over the chicken pieces.
In a small bowl, mix together the red wine, Cognac, and oil.
Drizzle the wine mixture over the vegetables and chicken, and then marinate the mixture overnight, for 8 to 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Remove each piece of the chicken from the marinade, reserving the liquid, and brown them on each side.
Set aside the chicken, scoop the vegetables out of the marinade, and cook them in the skillet for 5 minutes, until they begin to get tender.
Arrange the chicken in a deep, glass casserole dish, layer the vegetables over the chicken, and pour the reserved liquid over the casserole.
Sprinkle the salt and sugar over the mixture, cover, and bake it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
While the chicken is baking, fry the bacon in the skillet until it is crispy and set it aside to drain.
Pour off all but approximately 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease and sauté the mushrooms and onions over low-medium heat for 6-8 minutes, until they turn tender.
When the chicken has cooked for 20 minutes, remove it from the oven and add the bacon, mushrooms, and onions. Cover and return the casserole to the oven for 20 minutes.
Mix together the 2 tablespoons softened butter and the all-purpose flour until they form a smooth paste.
Add the butter-flour mixture, or beurre manie, to the chicken and vegetables for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Remove the casserole from the oven and stir the beurre manie throughout the dish. Allow it to sit and thicken for a few minutes before serving.