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French Coq au Vin Recipe: A Delightful Classic Made Easy

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Scrumptious homemade Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin is a classic French dish where chicken is braised in red wine, giving it a deep, rich flavor. This recipe is perfect for impressing guests at a dinner party and actually tastes better the next day.

What makes Coq au Vin special is the combination of tender chicken, crispy bacon, mushrooms, and a savory wine sauce. You can prepare it the day before, making it a convenient yet elegant option for entertaining.

If you love comforting, hearty meals with a touch of sophistication, this recipe is a must-try. With simple ingredients and step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to create a delicious, memorable dish right in your own kitchen.

Exact Ingredients (+ Possible Substitutes)

Chicken: Use 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces. You can also use only thighs or drumsticks for a richer flavor.

Red Wine: Use a full-bodied red wine like Burgundy. If needed, you can substitute with a good-quality chicken broth.

Bacon: 4-5 slices of thick-cut bacon, chopped. Pancetta works as a substitute.

Mushrooms: About 2 cups, sliced. White or cremini mushrooms are both good choices.

Carrots: 2-3 carrots, sliced. Baby carrots work too, just make sure they’re cut into bite-sized pieces.

Onions: 1 large onion, chopped. You can also use pearl onions for a more traditional touch.

Garlic: 3-4 cloves, minced.

Tomato Paste: 1 tablespoon. If you’re out, you can use a small amount of ketchup.

Herbs: Thyme, bay leaves, and fresh parsley. If you don’t have fresh, dried herbs work too.

Flour: 2 tablespoons for thickening the sauce. Cornstarch can be used as an alternative.

Butter: 2 tablespoons. Margarine can work if you need a non-dairy option.

Chicken Broth: 2 cups. Vegetable broth is an acceptable substitute.

Cognac: 1/4 cup. If you want to avoid alcohol, skip this or use a splash of apple juice.

Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons for browning the chicken.

Salt and Pepper: To taste. These basics are essential for seasoning.

Feel free to adjust these ingredients to match what you have in your kitchen.


Prepare the Ingredients:

  1. Marinate Chicken: Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. In a bowl, mix together red wine, cognac, and vegetable oil. Pour over the chicken and marinate overnight.

  2. Chop Vegetables: Slice carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, and garlic. Set aside.

Cook the Pancetta and Chicken:

  1. Brown Pancetta: In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Cook the pancetta until crispy, then transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.

  2. Sear Chicken: Using the same Dutch oven, sear chicken pieces on both sides until browned. Set aside.

Build the Stew:

  1. Cook Vegetables: Add the chopped vegetables, thyme, bay leaf, and parsley to the pot. Stir and cook until lightly browned.

  2. Combine Ingredients: Return chicken and pancetta to the pot. Pour in marinade. Add chicken stock to cover chicken halfway.

Simmer and Serve:

  1. Simmer: Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1.5 to 2 hours until the chicken is tender.

  2. Finishing Touches: Remove the lid and simmer for an additional 10 minutes to thicken the sauce.

Enjoy Your Coq au Vin:

  1. Serve: Serve hot with rustic bread or mashed potatoes. Enjoy this classic French dish!

Tips, Tricks & Storing

Choose the Right Wine: Use a good quality red wine, like Burgundy, for the best flavor.

Marinate Overnight: Let the chicken marinate in wine and herbs for 8-12 hours. This enhances the flavors.

Use a Dutch Oven: It’s perfect for this dish as it conducts heat evenly.

Cook in Batches: Brown the chicken in small batches to ensure even cooking. Overcrowding the pot will steam the chicken instead of browning it.

Low and Slow: Keep the heat low and let it simmer for a few hours. This creates tender chicken and rich sauce.

Remove Excess Fat: Skim off any excess fat from the surface while cooking to keep the sauce rich but not greasy.


Refrigerate: Store coq au vin in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Freezing: You can freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Use freezer-safe containers, and leave some space for expansion.

Reheating: Reheat slowly on the stovetop over low heat. You might need to add a splash of water or wine to thin the sauce if it thickens too much.

Serving Tips

  • Serve with Crusty Bread: It helps mop up the delicious sauce.
  • Pair with Mashed Potatoes: It’s a classic combination that works every time.
  • Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Add chopped parsley or thyme for a fresh finish.

Use these tips to make your coq au vin even better and enjoy this classic French dish!

Recipe Variations & Serving Suggestions

You can make Coq au Vin with a few tasty variations to suit your taste. Try using white wine instead of red wine for a lighter flavor. Substitute pancetta for bacon if you prefer a less smoky taste.

For the garnish, add pearl onions or caramelized onions. Both add a sweet, rich flavor.

Consider adding extra vegetables like carrots or mushrooms for more color and texture.

When serving, mashed potatoes or a crusty baguette pair wonderfully with the rich, flavorful sauce.

For a gluten-free option, you can thicken the sauce with cornstarch instead of flour.

Here’s a quick serving suggestion table:

White WineUse for a lighter flavor
PancettaSubstitute for bacon for less smokiness
Extra VegetablesAdd carrots, onions, or mushrooms
Gluten-Free OptionThicken with cornstarch

Experimenting with different ingredients can make every meal unique. Enjoy!