Coq au Vin

Coq Au Vin

Cooking inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes a stroll through a verdant farmers market on a warm spring day sets the gears of creativity in motion. Other times, it’s a six pound bag of Costco chicken, a half-full bottle of Côtes du Rhône, and some odds-and-ends lurking in the dark recesses of my fridge. A rummage through the deli drawer revealed a loosely wrapped package containing the remains of slab of pancetta, and the vegetable drawer coughed up some button mushrooms that had seen better days. It didn’t take an English -> French dictionary to figure out I had the makings for Coq au Vin.

Yes, technically the Coq in Coq au Vin means “rooster”, but the last time I checked, my local grocer wasn’t in the business of selling tough old cocks. If you want to be a purist though, by all means, go bag yourself a rooster. The tough connective tissue breaks down while cooking, and the well-exercised meat is definitely more flavorful than a chicken that’s spent it’s whole life cooped up.

The other half of the name, au Vin, literally means “in wine” and I honestly can’t think of a better marriage of ingredients, especially with a little bacon, onions and mushrooms thrown into the mix!

Despite vast regional difference in ingredients I more or less stuck to a “classic” coq au vin, but I introduced some different techniques and my own sequence to try and maximize the flavour and minimize the work. I used the bacon as the fat to fry the chicken and mirepoix in, all of which create a very thick layer of delicious brown fond at the bottom of the pan. The cognac deglazes the pan and adds it’s own smokey flavour and then the chicken braises in a 50/50 mixture of wine and stock. When the chicken is done, mushrooms and sweet cipollini onions are added along with a roux (made with the bacon/chicken fat) to finish the sauce. If you feel like being adventurous, adding dark chocolate at the end takes the resulting Choc au Vin to another level.

This yields fall-off-the-bone tender chicken, with perfectly cooked mushrooms and onions smothered in a rich sauce with depth that you just wouldn’t expect in a chicken dish. I love having coq au vin over a bed of creamy mashed yukon gold potatoes, but it’s just as good served as a stew with a crusty baguette.

Equipment you'll need:

Coq Au Vin
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Votes: 14
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Tender chicken braised in wine and stock with lardons, mushrooms and onions.
Coq Au Vin
  • 1
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Votes: 14
Rating: 3.36
Rate this recipe!
Tender chicken braised in wine and stock with lardons, mushrooms and onions.
Servings Prep Time
people 10minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
people 10minutes
Cook Time
  • 140 grams lardons or pancetta cut into batons
  • 8 chicken thighs - bone-in skin-on
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon Cognac Bourbon will do in a pinch
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 225 grams button mushrooms trimmed and halved
  • 225 grams cipollini onions or pearl onions, trimmed and peeled
  • parsley chopped for garnish
  1. In a large chef’s pan or dutch oven, fry the lardons over medium heat until most of the fat has rendered out (but not until it's crisp). Transfer the lardons to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
  2. Generously salt and pepper the chicken thighs and place in the hot pan, skin side down. Leave undisturbed for 6-7 minutes or until skin is golden brown, then flip the chicken over, allowing it to brown lightly on the second side. Transfer the chicken to the bowl with the lardons.
  3. You should no have a nice thick coating of brown "fond". This is what gives the dish much of it's depth. Remove 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan and set it aside in a small bowl. Add the chopped onion, celery and garlic and sauté until soft, scrapping the fond off the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t burn.
  4. Hit the pan with a generous splash of Cognac to deglaze the pan. Allow most of the liquid to evaporate, then add the red wine, chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, and tomato paste. Return the lardons and chicken to the pan and turn several times to make sure each piece is well coated and submerged in the liquid. Cover with the lid slightly askew (so steam can escape) and simmer over medium low heat until the chicken is tender 35-45 minutes.
  5. Add the flour to the fat you’ve reserved and stir until there are no lumps. When the chicken is tender, transfer to a plate and tent with foil. Add the mushrooms and cipollini onions to the pan and turn up the heat to medium, simmering uncovered for about 15 minutes or until the onions are cooked and the sauce has reduced a bit. Add a few tablespoons of sauce to the fat/flour mixture and stir to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the sauce in the pan one spoonful at a time, mixing well after each addition to make sure there are no lumps. I don’t like my sauce too thick, so I stopped about 2/3 of the way through, but if you like a very thick sauce, you can add all the roux. Salt and pepper to taste, then return the chicken to to pot to reheat and coat with the sauce.
  6. Garnish with the parsley, and then serve the coq au vin over mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or as a stew with a crusty baguette. I also like to sprinkle a little finishing salt like Fleur de Sel on top.

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  • Angelaroberts

     I love to see retro dishes and this is put together so beautifully.

  • Sharon

    Your dish looks delicious…….been wanting to cook this and you have inspired me to do so.

  • Genie

    Gorgeous deep colour. There is something very rustic and wonderful about whole mushrooms.

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  • Gina Kelley

    Oh, wow.  I have never made coq au vin before.  Now I have no excuse.  This will be a must-try!

  • julienmedina

    love the step by step photos! i really want to try this now!

  • Creamcheesewonton

    Can’t wait to try this. Just got my first delivery of CSA chicken thighs and wanted to make something special. Thanks for the recipe!

  • cedarglen

    Thanks.  This is a wonderful winter dish and a real favorite in my house.  With minor tweeking, the leftovers will freeze for a few weeks.  Comfort food at it s best, IMO.  I make it *almost*  the same way, and end up with about 30% less fat.  I don’t think that the flavor suffers at all.  Great Post!!

  • dr gene

    I’ve been making coq au vin for years. This is now my go to. I used the remaining sauce on a cheese omelet next morning. Lovely!

  • Nicholas Teri

     Bookmarked! Another recipe I cant wait to try.

  • H.J.

    This was the 2nd recipe I tried last weekend (besides the ravioli) .. my family wants to know my secret ;) Thanks Marc . Your food is just so good, I keep coming back for more …

  • PS

    Fixed this last night for our weekly Sunday night wine and dine with friends and family. It was a hit. Reminds me of beef bourgoignon. The sauce was delectable. I used 2 leeks and 1 small onion and it worked great. I love the flavor of leeks.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Mmm great idea using leeks!

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  • Jen

    Made this recipe last night and it was an amazing success. Will keep this in my arsenal of recipes. Always impressive and not terribly hard to make. Btw bourbon is a better choice for me anyway instead of cognac. Thanks!

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  • Yaoli Pu

    This was so delicious! Actually surprisingly looked like the pictures (which doesn’t always happen to me when I follow a recipe). Made a nice pre-Valentine’s day meal! Thank you for your wonderful recipes.

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  • Ben

    Made this last night and it was super good! Just one suggestion – step 3 should say “Add the chopped onions, celery,…” and step 5 “Add the mushrooms and cipollini mushrooms” to avoid confusion since there are two types of onions being used. Thank you for this (no)recipe!

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Glad you enjoyed, and great suggestions! I’ve updated the post.

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  • SMC

    This recipe sounds amazing. Did anyone make-ahead or does anyone have tips for make-ahead/re-heating? We have a small crew coming Friday night and I don’t want to choose a dish that will have me fussing in the kitchen. A half-hour before guests arrive, could I get myself well into Step 5? …Cover the sauce for that hour until I’m ready to combine with and warm the chicken again (just before I am ready to serve)?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi SMC, the best way would be get part of the way through step 5 (i.e. make the sauce but keep the chicken separate) and then add the chicken when you reheat. However you could just make it all the way to the end and reheat it when your guests arrive.

  • Shell

    I can’t wait to try this recipe, it sounds incredible! I was wondering if you could sub 4 bone in chicken breasts for the thighs? I have everything to make it except for the thighs and didn’t want to run to the store if I didn’t need to. Thank you.

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Shell, you could do that, but it will significantly alter the dish in a couple of ways. The first is that breast meat doesn’t have much fat or connective tissue which will make it very dry when cooked for this amount of time, this is tough to get around because the sauce and the meat need to be cooked together for this amount of time to bring together the flavors. The second issue is that because the meat has less fat, you’re not going to be able to recover 2 tablespoons of fat for the flour, so you’ll need to melt some butter to make up the different. The last issue is that because they are boneless, they won’t release as much flavor into the sauce.

  • Karen

    I can’t find cipollini or pearl onions anywhere around where I live currently (China), is there a way to substitute that? Should I just add another onion?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Karen, if you can find some other kind of small onion that should work, otherwise you could just slice up some regular onions and add them in towards the end.

  • Aimee

    This looks so good, but I don’t have any cognac or bourbon on hand. Can I sub for more wine? Or could I just leave that part out? Thanks, can’t wait to make this for dinner!

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Aimee, the cognac is there for flavor, so you can just leave it out. Hope you like it!


I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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