Coq au Vin

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Coq au vin is a hearty French stew of chicken braised in red wine with mushrooms and crisp pancetta.

Rich and brimming with flavor, coq au vin is a classic French stew of chicken braised in red wine with mushrooms and crispy pancetta. It’s the perfect cooking project to tackle on a chilly weekend when you’ve got a few hours to burn; naturally, anything that tastes this wonderful takes some time. As with most stews, it is even better the next day, and it freezes well, too.

I love coq au vin with buttered egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or a good crusty bread — basically anything to soak up the full-flavored sauce. If you like my Beef Bourguignon, you’ll love this recipe, too.

What You’ll Need To Make Coq au Vin

ingredients for Coq au Vin

Before we get to the step-by-step, a few notes about the ingredients:

  • Traditional recipes for coq au vin call for a whole cut-up chicken (a coq is an old rooster), but I prefer to use only bone-in chicken thighs only. The thighs remain tender and succulent when braised for a long time, whereas white meat tends to dry out.
  • Pancetta is simply Italian bacon. Instead of being smoked like American bacon, it is cured with salt and spices and then dried. You can find it in the deli at most supermarkets or precut and packaged in the refrigerated gourmet foods aisle, which is a great time saver.
  • For the wine, a Burgundy or Pinot Noir is traditional but any light or medium bodied red wine, such as Merlot or Zinfandel, will also work. You don’t need to use an expensive bottle; just make sure it’s good enough to drink (no supermarket cooking wine!).
  • Cognac, a type of French brandy, is delicious in cocktails like this pomegranate Sangria, but it also adds complex flavor to savory dishes like chicken Pot Pie, gravies, and stews.
  • You may notice that my recipe does not call for the traditional garnish of pearl onions. They can be difficult to find, and I actually prefer the stew without them. If you’d like to add them, be sure to brown them in butter and cook them thoroughly before adding them to the finished stew.

How To Make Coq au Vin

To begin, heat the oil in a large (5-qt) Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta (or bacon) and cook until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crispy, 5 to 8 minutes.
cooking pancettaUsing a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pan. Season the chicken all over with 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and brown half of the chicken in a single layer, skin side down, until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes (brown on the skin side only). Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside.

browning chickenPour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat, then return the pot to the stove and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until softened and just starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute more.

cooking onions and garlic

Pour in the Cognac and cook, stirring to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until the Cognac has evaporated.

deglazing the pan with Cognac

Add the wine, chicken broth, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, thyme, bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.

bringing liquid to a boilReduce the heat to medium and gently boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

reduced liquid

Add the chicken and any accumulated juices from the plate back to the pot, along with the carrots. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, or until the chicken and carrots are cooked through.

adding chicken and carrots to pot

While the chicken cooks, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

sautéed mushrooms

Also while the chicken cooks: In a small bowl, combine the softened butter and flour.

butter and flour in bowl

Mash with a spoon to make a smooth paste. In French, this is called a beurre manié (or kneaded butter). Set aside.

beurre manié

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked chicken to a plate. The wine gives it a purplish hue.

cooked chicken on plate

Using a fork and knife, pull the skin off of the chicken (it should slide right off) and discard. The skin has served its purpose by lending flavor to the sauce and protecting the meat from drying out. You don’t have to do remove it, but it’s soggy at this point and I think the dish is more appetizing without it.

chicken with skin removedIncrease the heat in the Dutch oven/pot to medium and stir in three-quarters of the flour and butter paste.

adding beurre manié

Gently boil until the sauce is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes; add the remaining paste if you’d like the sauce a little thicker. Fish out and discard the bay leaf.

simmering sauce to thicken

Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pot and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Right before serving, stir in the browned mushrooms and pancetta. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

adding chicken. mushrooms, and pancetta back to pot

Serve immediately or let cool, chill in the refrigerator, and reheat when ready to serve.

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Coq au Vin

Coq au vin is a hearty French stew of chicken braised in red wine with mushrooms and crisp pancetta.

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta (or bacon)
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin (see note)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 2-1/2 cups red wine, preferably Burgundy or Pinot Noir
  • 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks on the bias
  • 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large (5-qt) Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crispy, 5 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pan.
  2. Season the chicken all over with 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and brown half of the chicken in a single layer, skin side down, until golden and crispy, about 5 minutes (brown on the skin side only). Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat.
  3. Return the pot to the stove and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onions to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and just starting to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the Cognac and cook, stirring to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, until the Cognac has evaporated. Add the wine, chicken broth, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, thyme, bay leaf, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and gently boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices from the plate back to the pot, along with the carrots. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, or until the chicken and carrots are cooked through.
  5. While the chicken cooks, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Also while the chicken cooks: In a small bowl, mash the softened butter and flour to make a smooth paste. Set aside.
  7. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked chicken to a plate.
  8. Increase the heat in the Dutch oven/pot to medium and stir in three-quarters of the flour and butter paste. Gently boil until the sauce is thickened, 5 to 7 minutes; add the remaining paste if you'd like the sauce a little thicker. Fish out and discard the bay leaf.
  9. Using a fork and knife, pull the skin off of the chicken and discard.
  10. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the pot and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Right before serving, stir in the browned mushrooms and pancetta. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, then serve.
  11. Make-Ahead Instructions: Let cool to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat over medium-low heat on the stovetop before serving. (For best results, store the sautéed mushrooms and crispy pancetta in separate containers in the refrigerator and add before serving.)
  12. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: This can be frozen for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost the stew in the refrigerator for 24 hours and then reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until hot.
  13. Note: Sometimes chicken thighs have excess skin and/or fat. Before cooking, using kitchen shears, trim any skin that extends farther than the edges of the chicken thigh, and snip off any excess fat.

Pair with

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Reviews & Comments

  • I just made this recipe today and the chicken was fantastic. The meat was tender and the sauce was oh so delicious. To the chef all I have to say is, merci beaucoup!

    • — STERLING M SIMMONS on April 28, 2021
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  • This is a truly incredible recipe. I absolutely love it from start to finish. A true joy to make for me and my family. No notes!

    • — Drew on April 10, 2021
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  • Absolutely delicious!

    • — Brian on April 10, 2021
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  • Absolute perfection! As delicious as it was on the day I cooked it, it went to another level the next day. Highly recommend preparing it a day ahead – if you can resist! Thanks again, Jenn!
    LMRM

    • — Lorraine Rossi Marier on April 10, 2021
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  • I dont have any cognac on hand. Only got Jameson whiskey. Should I use that to deglaze the pan or just use some water? Gonna make this tomorrow.. I already know its gonna be delicious!

    • — Brian on April 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Brian, the whiskey will work well — hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • Wonderful recipe! It really turned out great! Made it dairy-free so I just increased the boiling time at the end to thicken the sauce. Didn’t want to use any other thickening agent. Also used a combination of thighs and breasts – the white meat didn’t dry out. Also used bourbon to deglaze instead of cognac – it was what I had available and it did the job just as well. Loved this version without the pearl onions – didn’t miss them. Had this with egg noodles and a romaine salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette. Well worth the time spent this afternoon. Fed six and no leftovers!

    • — Ravee on March 28, 2021
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  • Delicious!! Served with mash potato

    • — Vanessa on March 20, 2021
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  • Jenn, you’ve done it again! Another amazing recipe. I love Coq au Vin and this is BY FAR the best recipe for it that I’ve ever made. That sauce! And the chicken was so tender. Took your advice and made it the day before and just reheated it for last night’s dinner. Made homemade rolls and a simple green salad to go with it. Thank you for yet another wonderful recipe to add to the repetoire!

    • — Allyson on February 21, 2021
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  • So delicious! Followed the recipe as written and would not change a thing. The leftovers freeze well and even better the second time around!

    • — Kendall on February 20, 2021
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  • This was absolutely delicious. Made it and froze the leftovers. Even better when we had again. I placed it in my slow cooker , frozen, and cooked it on low for about 5 hours.

    • — Kendall on February 20, 2021
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  • Another stellar recipe – my husband gave it a ten! I’m usually not a fan of chicken thighs so I’ve never tried this and I’ve made so many of your recipes – all so good – but I’m glad I did because it was so flavorful! and the idea of removing the skin made it perfect. Love the crunchy bacon garnish. Also love your book – that steak salad is incredible. Thanks Jenn and keep it going!

    • — Susan Beth on February 18, 2021
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  • Perfect snowy day recipe

    • — Bina Indelicato on February 17, 2021
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  • Nice

    • — Ray on February 13, 2021
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  • I was wondering if anyone has taken the skin off AND removed the chicken from the bones before serving? It seems like that might make it more appetizing too. I would not want to use boneless skinless thighs as the skin and the bones add flavor.

    • — Susan Mary Cohen on February 8, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yes I have. I cook an extra large M&S chicken on a Sunday as a roast (we don’t eat much of it because of all the trimmings), then strip all the meat off the bones and bag up for a chicken pie or a coq au vin. The cooked chicken speeds it up & still as delicious as the recipe version. We just prefer to use a fork sometimes rather than mess about with bones.

      • — ARABELLA on May 8, 2021
      • Reply
  • I have made quite a few of your recipes Jen and they are consistently excellent. I made this yesterday and it was delicious. I didn’t have brandy so missed that bit out. The family really enjoyed it.
    Thank-you

    • — Kim-Marie on February 8, 2021
    • Reply
  • I followed the recipe exactly and it was amazing. I’m not confident in the kitchen so it took me a bit longer to make, but your recipes never fail which has encouraged me to cook more. Thank you Jenn!

    • — Stacie on February 7, 2021
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  • What a fantastic dish!!! I am a huge fan of your recipes, because they all seem to be outstanding. I added some additional vegetables, but otherwise followed it to a tee and the dish was met with rave reviews at our house. It was the perfect dish for a snowy day. Thank you

    • — Anne Morris on February 2, 2021
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  • I’ve made so many of your recipes over the past few years and although they are all excellent, this is one of my absolute favorites! The depth of flavors in the sauce is amazing and makes for an outstanding dish. I went to the store yesterday to get all of the ingredients and will make it again today, along with your buttermilk biscuits. It will be a perfect meal to enjoy during the massive snowstorm we’re getting here in the Northeast! Thanks again 🙂

    • — Donna on February 1, 2021
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    • Ooops I forgot to leave my rating. 5 stars all the way!

      • — Donna on February 1, 2021
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  • I had never had Coq au Vin before but decided to make it because it looked so good in the picture, and the reviews were great. Since then, I have made it at least three times. This recipe is well worth the time it takes. The flavor is so vibrant and it smells so good!! It gets rave reviews from my family and friends, and my husband asks me to make it as often as possible. The diced pancetta and the mushrooms are a great addition. Thanks again, Jenn, for providing another fabulous recipe, and for making them easy to follow!!

    • — Lynne B. on January 31, 2021
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  • I have wanted to make this for awhile now and finally did today. What a delicious stew this was! Followed the recipe as written and it did not disappoint I just wish I would have made some crusty bread to go with it.

    • — Tim L on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious! I made this Coq au Vin for dinner the other night. I read through the recipe carefully, followed the steps in making this chicken dish. I also planned the day to make sure I had the time to invest in creating this wondaful dish. It was worth it. My spouse loved it at dinner. Once it was done, I placed my Dutch over in a warm oven and just let it sit till dinner time. I also followed the last minute finish by fixing the mushrooms, and adding the pancetta at the end. I wish I had made more, but I know I will prepare this again. Thanks for the recipe. Look forward to creating more great meals you have to offer.
    Sincerely,
    Greg

    • — Greg on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this for dinner and its absolutely amazing! Had to leave out Cognac as I had none. Worth every bit of work and is a new keeper in my house! Thank you for expanding my horizons!!
    **Audra from New York

    • — Audra A Fischer on January 30, 2021
    • Reply

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