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.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Hi Jenn, I love all of your recipes and trust me I’ve made several over the last year. This recipe for the the coq calls for cognac. Can you use brandy in its place? If so, do you think it will achieve the same flavor?

    • — Debbie on January 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes, Debbie! Cognac is brandy (it’s just called Cognac as it comes from that region in France), so you’re good to go – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • I would like to make this and freeze it – anything special I need to do? May I just freeze the finished product?

    • — Theresa on January 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Theresa, Yes, this can be frozen. See the bottom of the recipe for freezer-friendly instructions. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • Lovely dish. It cooked exactly as illustrated. We will be having it again. I love that I can freeze two servings for a future supper during this winter.

    • — Dee W on January 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • Absolutely Delicious!!! Un met pour recevoir!! Beaucoup d’étapes mais très bien expliquées.

    • — Josée Senécal on January 18, 2021
    • Reply
  • Absolutely gorgeous! Recipe clear and easy to follow – tasted so much better than I could have imagine. My teenage daughter was not happy as while I was cooking it she kept saying “I don’t like wine and I don’t like mushrooms”. However she devoured it and was annoyed she had to eat her words too! Beautiful dish for all the family

    • — Carla on January 17, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can I combine boned in chicken breasts and thighs? I think I can. I do know that thighs give more flavor than breasts. Do you think the taste will be impacted?

    • — Corrine on January 14, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, I think that will work and it will still taste good. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on January 15, 2021
      • Reply
  • Can I put this in the oven to finish cooking at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours?

    • — claudia Hyland on January 11, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Claudia, For the step where you’re cooking the chicken and carrots for 30 minutes, you could put this in the oven instead, but I’d stick to the 30 minute timeframe.

      • — Jenn on January 11, 2021
      • Reply
  • what is the sodium content

    • — patricia cavalcante on January 7, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Patricia, Looks like each serving has 1,430 mg of sodium. I know that’s high so if you’re watching your sodium, you could cut some of the added salt and add more to taste if necessary.

      • — Jenn on January 7, 2021
      • Reply
  • Delicious!!! Best recipe I’ve ever made for coq au vin. So far, every recipe I’ve tried by you, Jenn, has been outstanding. Reading your cooking “class” info about salt, I followed the recipe instead of omitting much of the salt as I usually do. You were right! Just a note, I followed everything exactly, except I doubled the mushrooms but quartered them, and used tiny baby carrots, almost a full bag. Everything else, did what you instructed. SO good.

    • — Laurie on December 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • Can I bake the dish in a 350 degree oven for an hour instead of cooking on low for 30 min? Gives me time to clean up, and also my large burner runs very hot. It would be more even heat.

    • — Laurie on December 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • So delicious! I made this for Christmas Eve dinner with mashed potatoes and crusty bread. I would not change a thing with the recipe–the cognac and pancetta contribute to a delicious gravy/sauce that is best described as nummy! The dish looks simple but the gravy–oh the gravy! is so divine that everyone commented how good it was. Thanks Jenn for another winner!

    • — judy on December 26, 2020
    • Reply
  • I followed the recipe to the letter. It was excellent. The best coq au vin recipe I have made. Thank you.

    • — Kathy on December 22, 2020
    • Reply
  • What a delicious dish! Has become a favorite!

    • — Elze Adams on December 21, 2020
    • Reply
  • We made this the other night for a small gathering, just us and another couple. I had barely sat down and the compliments were already flying. The only downside was there was nothing leftover for a midnight raid!!! Thanks Jenn, you are simply the best!!! 👍😃👍

    • — Carl Schena on December 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on December 18, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi, can you use boneless breasts for this recipe and no pancetta?

    • — Paula on December 17, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Paula, I don’t recommend boneless breasts for this but you can omit the pancetta and cook the chicken in a little oil. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on December 17, 2020
      • Reply
  • This recipe deserves many more stars… absolutely my favorite dish! Thank you for sharing a fantastic recipe!

    • — Jonnette on December 15, 2020
    • Reply
  • Will this recipe still come out goo without the pancetta? How would I cook the chicken?

    • — stacey l akdemir on December 14, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Stacey, you can just omit the pancetta and cook the chicken in a little oil. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 14, 2020
      • Reply
  • Fun to make and delicious to eat. We had this for our Stay at Home/Don’t Travel 2020 Thanksgiving dinner. It just might be our new tradition instead of turkey.

    • — Laurie on November 27, 2020
    • Reply
  • Excellent recipe when I use this recipe again I would add 3 more carrots. And more mushrooms! The gravy created was excellent,the best we have made!

    • — Rodney on November 19, 2020
    • Reply

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