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
  • ¼ cup Cognac
  • 2½ cups red wine, preferably Burgundy or Pinot Noir
  • 2½ cups chicken broth
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into ½-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 ¼ 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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Comments

  • Question: we really only like boneless chicken breasts. This sounds delicious could I use only boneless chicken breasts? If so what would you do differently
    PS I love your recipes

    • — Cheryl on September 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Cheryl, I don’t recommend it for this recipe – so sorry!

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2022
      • Reply
  • This was insanely good!!! I served it over buttered egg noodles and it was absolutely delicious. Definitely a meal worth the time it takes to make it!

    • — Jill on August 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • RE : Your comment that Coq = old rooster……Once upon a time, I got it my mind that this recipe was probably a way to make use of the meat of a rooster, which would be very tough. (I have seen some recipes that call for marinating the bird in red wine for a day…. I think to soften the meat…..) So, I went to a very well known poultry shop near us, where we had bought fresh turkey, chicken, duck, etc. I told the person behind the counter what I wanted, ie, a rooster. He paused and mused a few seconds, then nodded his head and said “rooster, roaster..”, “the roasters are roosters and the fryers are hens.”, with a smile. I swallowed my shock, and simply asked to speak with one of the owners, who explained to me that “the way we raise them these days, we don’t know which are the males and which are the females.” I don’t think I bought anything that day, (I have since) but I was shocked!! I am guessing that the use of hormones or other additives play such a roll in the production of chicken that we have lost that good old sex appeal! Or, maybe they just castrate the males, I don’t know. My question is, would you ever make this dish with an actual rooster? I know of a very few poultry shops where I could actually get one. It would be fun to see what the original (“historically informed”?) preparation tased like !! Thank you again for a great website!! Jack

    • — Jack on June 4, 2022
    • Reply
    • That’s a funny story! I’ve never made it with rooster and I’m not sure how it would turn out. Considering this recipe is a bit of an undertaking, I’d probably stick with the thighs. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 7, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hello,
    I’m going to be making this recipe in a couple of days (Saturday, May 14th) and I’m wondering if I can substitute cooking sherry for the cognac?

    Many thanks!

    • — Chris Ciceri on May 12, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Chris, I wouldn’t recommend cooking sherry for this. I stay away from cooking wines as they have a lot of additives and salt and can impact the flavor of the dish. The cognac adds depth of flavor to the dish but if you don’t have it on hand, you can omit it. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 12, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn, I appreciate your speedy response! I’ll omit. 🙂

        • — Chris Ciceri on May 12, 2022
        • Reply
  • Hello Jenn,
    I really enjoyed making this. Two questions, first what if I used another 2.5 cups of wine instead of the broth, would I need any changes to the other ingredients? Would you recommend? Second, I have seen other recipes that call for a long slow cook. Any thoughts here? I guess that’s more than two questions…
    Thanks, Keith

    • — Keith Taylor on May 5, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Keith, if you use additional wine instead of broth, you wouldn’t need to make any additional changes. Keep in mind that the sauce will taste very wine-y, and this recipe already cooks kind of slow and low and I don’t think you need to go any slower as the flavors really have a chance to develop fully in the time provided in the recipe. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on May 9, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hello Jenn,
        Thank you again for your advice and taking the time to respond to everyone. As mentioned, I tried the recipe using broth, cooking as described in one day. Next, the only change made was substituting the broth quantity for wine, using the storage over night, and finishing the next day with mushrooms/pancetta added before serving as you recommended. Absolutely, both were worth every minute of work and every bite taken. It was a bit embarrassing to receive so many compliments. Leftovers are incredible.
        Best, Keith

        • — Keith Taylor on May 16, 2022
        • Reply
        • Thanks for the update, Keith, and so glad came out well with your tweaks. And you comment about getting so many compliments made me laugh! 🙂

          • — Jenn on May 17, 2022
          • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Can I add the mushrooms earlier? I’m trying to make this ahead of time.
    Thanks,
    Trish

    • — Trish K. on April 28, 2022
    • Reply
    • They’re best if the mushrooms and pancetta and stored separately and added right before serving, but it’s doable to add them ahead. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 29, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, looking forward to making this – can I substitute the chicken thighs with a whole chicken without making other changes?

    • — Qian on April 9, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Qian, Yes, it’s fine to use a cut up chicken here. Just keep an eye on the white meat to make sure it doesn’t overcook. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on April 12, 2022
      • Reply
  • This was well worth the two hour effort. Wow. Such flavor!

    • — Rosann on March 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have just sent a comment on your fantastic recipes, I forgot to ask if you have one for lamb shanks. If you have could you send, many thanks

    • — Derek Chapman on March 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Derek, As of now, I don’t have a proven recipe of my own for lamb shanks – I’m sorry! I’ll have to add that to my list of recipes to potentially develop. Thanks for the suggestion as I’m always looking for new inspiration!

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • I have now tried both Coq au vin and beef stew, absolutely fantastic both, keep sending recipes on line, they have been the BEST ever. Thank you

    • — Derek Chapman on March 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • How much cognac wine balsamic vinegar do I add?

    • — Margaret Clarke on February 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Margaret, you’ll need 1/4 cup cognac. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 28, 2022
      • Reply
  • This was one of the best meals I’ve made. The chicken and vegetables were so tender, and the flavor was outstanding! I absolutely love the idea of the beurre manié. This is a five star recipe, packed with flavor and ideal as leftovers.

    • — Sissy on February 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • 105 minutes cooking time? No way. I do 35 minutes– 10 minutes to brown thights and drumsticks, 20-25 minutes to simmer it in the flavored red wine, then serve as a soup with big pieces of chicken in it.

    ***** for the stuff in it, * for the cooking process.

    • — keith baker on February 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, this looks yummy and it’s make ahead. I’m going to serve 8 people. Would just doubling the recipe work? Thank you

    • — Barbara Riddle on February 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure – you’ll likely have leftovers if you double it (but reheats nicely) so you could get away with making 1.5 times the recipe. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on February 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • WOW! Made this tonight and it was DELICIOUS! The best comfort food! We ate an entire loaf of French bread 🥖 and now I’m ready for a serious nap! Thank you for another great recipe!

    • — Kristie on February 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • I was disappointed that the sauce wasn’t richer. Maybe too much chicken broth?

    • — X on February 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • Absolutely fantastic! Another winner. Every single recipe I have tried from your website has been exceptional. I made half of this coq au vin recipe. I did not pour it over noodles or any other starch as I feel since starches are generally tasteless I didn’t want to dilute the flavor of the sauce. I did have a piece of rye bread at the end to satisfy the ‘I want some starch voice in my head’ and I used it to mop up the remaining sauce in the bowl. I ate it the same day I made it and it was wonderful. Can’t wait to eat it again tomorrow or the next day as it usually gets better with age. Thanks for taking recipes, or making them up, and perfecting them. That’s the difference between having dinner and having something that says ‘wow’ and you tell your friends about.

    • — J Reg on January 29, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    This recipe looks delicious and I now have everything I need to make it. But I noticed that each pack of four Bell & Evans chicken thighs I have is a little over 1.5 lbs. So I would only have 3+lbs of chicken. Will that be alright with the proportions in your recipe for four lbs? Do I need to scale back the rest of the recipe?

    • — Jane Rupert on January 27, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jane, I think you can stick to the recipe. You’ll just have some extra sauce. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 28, 2022
      • Reply
      • Jenn,
        My son made this for us and it was fantastic. I’m going to make it, but was interested in leaving out the butter at the end. Can I simply make a slurry of flour and gravy to thicken?

        • — Suzie DeAngelis on February 12, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Suzie, glad you enjoyed it! If you want to make a slurry instead of using butter, I’d make one out of cornstarch and water. Hope that helps!

          • — Jenn on February 15, 2022
          • Reply
  • I have tried several different coq au vin recipes over the years and this is the best one! The only things I did differently: I used thighs and breasts and I added the thyme sprigs themselves and then fished them out before serving. Thanks for another great recipe Jenn!

    • — Kathy on January 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this all in one pot in a Dutch oven added 1 chopped celery stalk , whiskey instead of cognac and mini yellow onions like the French chefs make it. Oh my God! Yummy with creamy mashed potatoes as side
    My husband loved it.

    • — Sylvie C on January 14, 2022
    • Reply

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