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. As with most stews, coq au vin is even better the next day, and it freezes well, too. Serve with buttered egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or a good crusty bread — basically anything to soak up the full-flavored sauce.
What You’ll Need To Make 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 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 used in cocktails like sangria, but it also adds complex flavor to savory dishes like chicken pot pie, steak au poivre, and gravy.
- 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.
Using 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.
Pour 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.
Pour in 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 and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to medium and gently boil, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
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.
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.
Also while the chicken cooks: In a small bowl, combine the softened butter and flour.
Mash with a spoon to make a smooth paste. In French, this is called a beurre manié (or kneaded butter). Set aside.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked chicken to a plate. The wine gives it a purplish hue.
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.
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.
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.
Serve immediately or let cool, chill in the refrigerator, and reheat when ready to serve.
You May Also Like
- Beef Stew with Carrots & Potatoes
- Chicken Cacciatore
- Red Wine Braised Short Ribs
- Chicken Fricassee with Apples
- Moroccan Chicken Tagine
Coq au Vin
Coq au vin is a hearty French stew of chicken braised in red wine with mushrooms and crisp pancetta.
- 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)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Also while the chicken cooks: In a small bowl, mash the softened butter and flour to make a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked chicken to a plate.
- 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.
- Using a fork and knife, pull the skin off of the chicken and discard.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Per serving (4 servings)
- Serving size: 2 chicken thighs
- Calories: 1,470
- Fat: 99 g
- Saturated fat: 30 g
- Carbohydrates: 32 g
- Sugar: 11 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 75 g
- Sodium: 2,139 mg
- Cholesterol: 432 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
It was relaxing to make on a quiet afternoon and a joy to eat! This recipe is perfect! Was delicious served immediately, the next day, and frozen and reheated. Also a perfect comfort meal for taking to someone.
My husband and I made this recipe last and it blew our socks off! Absolutely wonderful! We both woke up this morning and said, “Wow! That was really good!” My only regret is I forgot to get a crusty loaf of bread to soak up the goodness. We both lifted up our bowls and drank it down. The complex flavor profile was extremely satisfying. Yum! Looking forward to making even more of your recipes. Your blog and recipes are very concise and no second guessing what the instructions actually mean. No interpreting required. Thanks for all your hard work sharing your recipes.
I just bought a new 6 3/4 quart Dutch oven. This will be first recipe in it. Should I use x1.25 or x1.5 recipe due to increased size of Dutch oven? I’m afraid level of juices may be too low???
Hi Jenny, I’d go with 1.25. Hope you enjoy!
I’m making this recipe for a potluck. T I am supposed to make enough for 12 but there will be a lot of food there. Do you think I can get away with doubling the recipe or should I triple it? Thanks in advance for your consideration.
Hi Carolyn, If there will be plenty of other food there, I think you can get away with doubling it. Hope everyone enjoys!
Can I use cabernet sauvignon for the wine?
Hi, before making this recipe I just have one question— can I still use Cabernet Sauvignon for the red wine instead?
Hi, Jenn – I am just curious about the balsamic vinegar. I have never seen balsamic used as an ingredient in Coq Au Vin before and wondered what prompted you to use it. Is this how you made it at Auberge Chez Francois? Thanks!
Hi Laura, Balsamic vinegar (like tomato paste) is an umami-rich ingredient that can give recipes a deeper, brighter flavor. I use it in my beef stew as well. It’s been about 25 years since I worked at Chez Francois, so I don’t recall how they made it there (or if it was even on the menu!).
I made this recipe exactly as written and it was excellent and very affordable considering how gourmet it tasted. Everyone loved it. I also agree about removing this skin. It was rubbery by that stage and would not have been appealing to eat. I will be making this regularly.
I have two problems with this recipe, DO add the onions for additional depth of flavor and don’t remove the skin from the chicken. Stay authentic!
I’ve made this dish twice now, most recently for my father fussy in-laws. Everyone loves this dish – such a great cold-rainy-Sunday dinner. Served over mashed potatoes and with crusty bread to soak up the sauce. HOWEVER both times I’ve made this dish I substituted Boujolais-villages wine instead of the varieties the recipe called for. Seemed to be a little brighter, a little more complex to make a richer sauce. Thank you, Jenn, for posting this, and many other, wonderful recipes!
Another amazing recipe! Sooooooo delicious!
Just Heavenly! The only adjustment I made was to cook the chicken and Carrots in the oven @ 350 until tender instead of on the stove top.
Thank you for sharing this recipe!
This recipe was absolutely outstanding. Perfection!
This is another excellent recipe, equally appreciated for its “make-ahead” attribute and its flavor.
My question is about salt. Today I have only a very fine sea salt and Maldon sea salt, none of the kosher salt I usually cook with; I’m wondering what kind of salt the “2 t. salt” indicated may represent? Thank you for the recipe and also the comments, always interesting.
Hi Ellen, So glad you enjoyed this! When a recipe of mine says salt in the ingredient list, I am referring to regular/table salt. If it calls for something else like kosher salt, I will specify that in the recipe. And while it doesn’t make a huge difference, different salts have different-sized grains and so you may end up using a bit more or a bit less if you use a different type of salt than the recipe calls for (but not enough to make a big difference). Hope that clarifies!
Made this for my wife on Valentine’s Day!
What a hit.
Your recipe served as an excellent guide through the journey of preparing this meal.
I confess – for the sake of reducing the sat. fat content
1) I used a combination of boneless, skinless thighs and breast
2) used turkey bacon instead of pancetta
While it was a bit drier during the stages, (I compensated by adding Olive Oil during the transitions) and I’m sure not as delicious – the meal was still an excellent one! Not being a French Cuisine connoisseur, I did not know what I was missing – and my wife seemed to really enjoy it.
OMG this was amazing! Everyone loved it. Delicious!!!
I can’t wait to make this! If I plan to freeze the leftovers, would I need to keep the mushrooms and pancetta out and then make them fresh when I defrost it? I’m making it for other people so I don’t know what instructions I should leave for when their ready to eat it again.
Hi Turtle, You could really go either way, but for ease I would probably just add them and freeze.
OMG I can’t believe how delicious this recipe is! Made this tonight as one of my first meals back in my home after 4 months of displacement due to Hurricane Ian and am I glad I chose this dinner! I made it gluten free and my husband loved it! Thank you Jenn for another great recipe!
how did you make the the Beurre Manie without flour?
Hi Steve, just weighing in in case Jill doesn’t see this — you can use gluten-free flour to make the Beurre Manie. 🙂
Made this tonight and WOW! Great recipe. I have made cow au vin a few times and nothing like this velvety smooth rich sauce. Will make this again and again and for company!
Hi Jenn! I’m looking forward to making Coq aVin for the first time using your recipe. I have seen many recipes for Coq a Vin Blanc and was wondering if you could share how the taste changes using the different wines? Do you have a preference? I was wondering if using a white or red makes the whole thing taste better or is it pretty much the same? Thanks and you rock!
Hi Cole, I know there are some recipes that call for white wine. I can’t say I’ve ever tried it with white — the taste and color will be a bit different if you use white, but it should still be good. 🙂
This was amazing. The tip of combining butter and flour as a thickener is useful for other recipes, and the mashed potato recipe that goes with this is excellent.
I just made this tonight. It was delicious. I’ve been ordering it at French restaurants and Jenn’s is just as delicious.
This was absolutely delicious! Great flavor
Made this for some friends we had over, absolutely fabulous! We served with mashed potatoes. Jen, you are awesome, this recipe like the many I have tried are always top notch!
Another perfect recipe! I had the day off so I decided to make this for dinner. I followed the recipe exactly. So good! Can’t wait for the leftovers. Thanks Jen! One of my favorites from the cookbook❤️
I made this yesterday for a mid-afternoon meal with a good friend today. I followed the recipe exactly, and it was excellent (as your recipes always are). It got rave reviews from my friend and my husband. I paired it with the green beans with shallots and a salad. Delicious! I do have a question. I found the prep time took me much longer than the recipe called for – is that because the time is based on how long it takes you to prep? I’m not a trained chef, but enjoy cooking and have been doing it for many years. Thank you so much for guest-pleasing recipes that the average cook can make, with ingredients I can find in my local supermarket!
Hi Deb, glad you enjoyed it! I know that I am probably quicker than most people when it comes to food prep so I try to add some extra time when sharing the recipe to account for that. Sorry that this took you much longer than 30 minutes of prep time though!
I do love your recipes and I have your book. Can I ask why you indicate 8 chicken thighs for 6 people. Is one thigh enough in your opinion per person, with a few extras? I thought 2 per person, but maybe that is too much?
Hi Norman, so glad you like the recipes! Your question got me thinking, and I’ve decided to change the number of servings to 4 instead of 6. Consistent with that, I would plan for 2 thighs per person. Just keep in mind you may end up having some leftovers. Hope everyone enjoys!
Hi Norman, So glad you like the recipes/cookbook! Your comment gave me pause and I think it would be safer to assume that each person would potentially eat two thighs. I’m going to update the number of servings in the recipe. 🙂
I’ve made this twice before and used chicken breasts. It was delicious but this time I am going for the recipe as written with bone in skin on chicken thighs. I’ve never cooked or served chicken thighs before so this is a first! Can you let me know if you are meant to remove the bone before serving (I see the note about the skin)? Or would guests just cut around it?
Glad you’ve enjoyed it! Guests can just cut around the bones. 🙂
Thank you!! One last question, can I cook this a bit early and leave it to simmer an hour or two so I am not trying to do everything as my guests are here? I’d add the pancetta and mushrooms before serving, as instructed. Just wasn’t sure if it simmering on low for a few hours would do any harm.
Sure, Jules, that should be fine. Just keep it on the lowest heat, covered, and give it a stir periodically so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom.
Absolutely delicious as always with your recipes Jen! Knowing your history of French cuisine, do you happen to have a recipe for a french cassoulet you wouldn’t mind sharing on your blog? We would so appreciate it!!
Thank you for all you do for us home cooks 🥰
So glad you liked this! As of now, I don’t have a proven recipe of my own for cassoulet – 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!
I have made several recipes from your page. They have all been delicious. The coq au vin is fantastic and I am so grateful for these recipes. Thank you.
OMG, this was sooo good! As many have stated previously, Jenn’s recipes are just so well outlined and so easy to follow. This was my first time cooking Coq au Vin and it surely won’t be the last time! Such a “fancy” dish, but actually quite easy (and economical) to accomplish. Decreased the recipe in half for the two of us, but didn’t decrease the garlic (as we are “garlic people”). Added some celery, too. Although we halved the butter/flour mash, we used all of it without ANY regret. Highly recommend!! Thanks, Jenn!!!
I drooled as I read a book with this dish being described (Louise Penny – Armand Gamache series) and the real thing did not disappoint! The recipe was easy to follow and the steps being broken out as they were was so helpful. I WILL make again. Thank you!
Thanks so much for this fantastic recipe Jenn!
I made it once for my family, and they raved, then made it for company on Christmas Day!
I was able to use plain gluten free flour (available in the UK with no zamtham gum, etc) to mix with the butter as a thickener. Lots of other options for that too.
Served it with mashed potatoes and your green beans with shallots recipe.
This recipe is very accessible for any cook and it’s just helpful to have things ready to go before starting.
This will be a family staple from now on!
So good! Made cheap chicken thighs taste very savory and fancy.
Would this work with pheasant?
Hi JT, Glad you liked it. I suspect it will work with pheasant, though the cooking time may be different. I’d love to hear how it turns out if you try it
We made this for our early Christmas celebration with our son and his family. Followed the directions exactly. It was spectacular! This was the best Coq au Vin I have ever made. We also served it with the recommended creamy mashed potatoes and French green beans. Everything was so delicious! Thanks once again Jenn for these keepers!
Wow – totally over the top. My guests loved it as well. I ran out of bread being used to mop up sauce. Hate to mess with perfection, but one question – how do you think herbs de Provence would work in place of the thyme
So glad it was a hit! Sure, herbes de Provence would work just fine in place of the thyme. 🙂
Perfection. Thank you for this gorgeous recipe. Huge success and so delicious.
I want to make this with a 5 pound stewing chicken. What should I adjust?
Isn’t that the traditional type of chicken in this dish as well?
Hi Marie, you can use a stewing chicken in this recipe but keep in mind that the meat will probably be a lot tougher. I’d increase the cooking time for the chicken to hopefully make it a bit more tender. And I believe coq au vin was developed using a rooster. I’d love to hear how it comes out with the stewing hen!
Wow! This is delicious! Have made it several times – the requests for more keep coming!
THIS IS DELICIOUS!!! Even my picky kids loved it.
Would it be possible to use boneless thighs? Thanks, and I love your recipes!
So glad you like the recipes! The bones add a lot of flavor, so using boneless thighs will have an impact on the finished dish. Also, you won’t need to cook the chicken as long so it won’t get quite as infused with the other flavors. Last, it’s pretty hard to find boneless chicken thighs that have skin on them. All that said, technically you can do it!