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

  • It does take a bit of time to make, but it was worth it. I made this when company came for a visit and I could make it earlier in the day and just warm it up when it was time for dinner.

    • — Rachel on January 29, 2021
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    • Great dish. Followed recipe to a tee but didn’t have cognac. The sauce tasted even better the second day. My picky 7 year old son even enjoyed it. Thank you so much.

      • — COLIN LOTFI on February 17, 2021
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  • This is one of the first thing my husband and I made. This was so good. Can’t wait to make it again.

    • — Michele Marvin on January 29, 2021
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  • Delicious! Since we have some non-mushroom eaters in the house, we left them out and it was still great. I cut the wine and broth down to two cups each and used all the flour which made for a nice, smooth sauce.

    • — Patti B on January 29, 2021
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  • This is the first recipe I ever tried from once upon a chef. I was a bit overwhelmed at first but it turned out PERFECTLY!! It is by far one of my family’s favorite recipes. It is simply divine. Since then I have tried several of your other recipes and they have NEVER failed me. By far my favorite recipe/cooking blog. Thanks so much Jenn.

    • — Barb Brady on January 29, 2021
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  • This dish was very delicious. Chicken was succulent and vegetables were tender. The sauce was rich and smooth. Another family favourite!

    • — Annette Martin on January 28, 2021
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  • First time making this dish and it was a huge success!! Used a different brandy, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly and it did not disappoint. The mushrooms at the end tied it all together! Borrowed my mom’s Dutch oven to make – the recipe was fun and easy to follow, will def be making this again!

    • — Camilla on January 28, 2021
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  • I have made this several times now. My husband has called it restaurant worthy. We always have mashed potatoes with it so we can get all the sauce.

    • — Donna Ryan on January 28, 2021
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  • Love this recipe! Turns out perfect every time

    • — Cathy M on January 28, 2021
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  • Tied for my favorite recipe from Jenn’s blog. This one was a real hit – we were practically licking the sauce off our plates at the end.

    • — Jen B on January 28, 2021
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    • Curious to know what recipe this one is tied with…

      • — Chris on February 13, 2021
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  • This is absolutely become my go to weekend recipe for a fancy dinner. I’ve made it multiple times and it comes out perfect every single time. It is a lengthy recipe, but the work is beyond worth it! Also, the recipe indicates that adding additional flour/butter mixture is optional, but I always add it all. Makes the sauce lovely and thick. It’s hard to get access to cognac where I am, so I use port wine instead and it works like a charm! This recipe is so good that my boyfriend proposed to me after finishing dinner. So it’s become a staple for us now!

    • — Karly on January 28, 2021
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  • I told my neighbors about this recipe, and now they make it too! It is the most impressive thing we have cooked at home. Perfect for a cold Sunday afternoon! Your house will smell amazing, and everyone will love it. We serve it with smashed red potatoes, steamed french green beans, and crusty bread. We also add extra mushrooms, because they are so delicous in this. Everything else is perfect as written–including the size of the carrots, in case you think that’s too thick, it’s not. Enjoy!

    • — Jodi on January 28, 2021
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  • I have now made this multiple times. I follow the recipe exactly except my wine is a red blend, its what I usually have. This is a show stopper. It is delicious even left over. I have served over noodles and smashed potatoes for a hearty meal! Thanks Jen for a winner for dinner.

    • — Laura Osborne on January 28, 2021
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  • Coq au Vin is one of my all time favorite recipes. My aunt used to make it periodically when I was growing up so it brings back all kinds of fuzzy feelings. I have made this a few times and usually end up converting it to a slow cooker recipe because I like it simmering for a few hours before we eat. This keeps really well as a leftover — which I love. We enjoy it with egg noodles almost like a stroganoff or with mashed potatoes.

    • — Heather Beam on January 28, 2021
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  • OMG! This recipe is perfection. The sauce is so delicious. My family couldn’t get enough! Will definitely make this again and again and again.

    • — Yvette on January 28, 2021
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  • Best recepie I have made ,very good and the quality of the wine makes a big difference.
    Its a keeper,
    MERCI

    • — suzanne bussiere on January 28, 2021
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  • Another new family favorite recipe. Filling for my three teenage boys and I often have all of the ingredients on hand.

    • — Dustie on January 28, 2021
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  • We’ve eliminated beef and pork from our diet and eating a lot of chicken, so I’ve been missing meat stews and looking for new chicken recipes. This recipe is exactly what I needed. It’s got the rich flavor and comfort-food factor of a meat stew and pairs well with noodles or mashed potatoes. As with all of Jenn’s recipes, it’s easy to follow (unlike Julia Childs’ recipe mazes) and the results are amazing.

    • — Mary on January 28, 2021
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  • This is my favorite coq au vin recipe. I omit Lardons but it is still rich and unctuous. I add wild mushrooms and resist the temptation to move them in pan too much while cooking them. Definitely don’t forget the parsley and cut the carrots on the bias. I go heavy on the sauce because it’s so good. I cook in the oven to ensure even temperature and then reduce on stovetop. Served with plain couscous and green beans.

    • — Andrea on January 28, 2021
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  • The first time I made this it took a while to work through all the steps. But it was SO worth it!! I’m no connoisseur, but I was so impressed with the depth of flavor in this stew. The flavors deepen the next day, and also if the leftovers are frozen and reheated the flavor doesn’t diminish. I used bacon rather than pancetta both times I’ve made this since that’s what I had on hand. I used cremini mushrooms once and regular mushrooms once and didn’t notice a difference. This dinner is a fantastic treat on a cold night!

    • — Camille Moes on January 28, 2021
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  • I had made Coq Au Vin years ago and was so excited to see your recipe, because I had forgotten about it! What a treat it is, from such humble ingredients. Your recipe was perfectly delicious. I didn’t change a thing and am making it again this week! Thank you!

    • — Joy on January 28, 2021
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  • Love this recipe – such great depth of flavor. Perfect for a weekend meal! I followed the recipe exactly, and it was well worth the process!

    • — Michelle on January 28, 2021
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  • Such a classic recipe that is easy enough to make during the week but feels like a fancy Sunday dinner. My family loves it!

    • — Mommytotwo on January 28, 2021
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  • I love this recipe. It is easy and has such great flavor. I usually use bacon because I always have that on hand. I always freeze part of this as I am usually cooking for two. It freezes well and I am never organized enough to take it out 24 hours ahead. I just heat it slowly from frozen and it’s great!

    • — Kathleen Schettler on January 28, 2021
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  • My husband is recently retired and wants to learn more about cooking. I prepped for him( we used his smoked bacon) and he made this. He followed every step and it came out fantastic! I now have a fancy Sunday dinner chef!!

    • — Lorri Chmy on January 28, 2021
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  • Great recipe for Coq au Vin! Sautéed my mushrooms in the same dish instead of adding at the end. The flavor really brought back memories, hadn’t had Coq au Vin in forever!

    • — Drew Flatt on January 28, 2021
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  • I love your recipes and this is one of my favorites. I can’t wait to make it again. It is the perfect cold weather dish. My whole family devoured it and had second. It made the house smell amazing too. Thank you!

    • — Stacy Iamele on January 28, 2021
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  • This recipe was scrumptious! I took pride in the process and results. Each bite very rich and comforting. Look no further and make this one. It’s worth it!

    • — Danielle on January 28, 2021
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  • Made this delicious and rich tasting dish a few weekends ago for a weekend cottage getaway with my sweetheart. Made it a day in advance to allow the flavors to build. Key to add the mushrooms and pancetta (I used bacon I had on-hand), during the reheat to keep the mushrooms from losing to much firmness. I served it on a bed of mashed potatoes which was great with the rich sauce. The dish travels well and paired with a good bottle of red it was the perfect compliment after a day of outdoor winter fun.

    • — Paul M. on January 28, 2021
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  • I made this recipe and shared some with my French colleagues, who sadly could not visit home due to the pandemic. I love this recipe but I messed up the first couple of times because I treated this like a normal stew, where there’s some flexibility. There’s much less flexibility and more sensitivity in this recipe – you really need to follow the instructions to the letter and not take liberties (for example, you have to use the cognac to deglaze the onions, not just add in when you throw in the liquids) and be careful not to burn the pancetta!

    One alter that I do perform is I’ll remove the chicken thighs and strip the meat from the bone. I’ll also chop up the skin and throw it back in the pot. Discarding the bone means you can eat this stew with just a spoon (no hands).

    • — Paul G on January 28, 2021
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  • Jennifer- I’ve been a fan for a few years now and have made dozens of your recipes. While I’ve been incredibly pleased every time, I’ve never felt compelled to write a review until now. Tonight I made your Coq ou Vin and without a doubt, it is one of the most amazing dishes I’ve ever made. I take NO credit as all I did was follow your recipe. I just can’t believe that I was able to make something that tasted like this. It was AMAZING!!! My wife (typically a very classy lady) was literally licking her fingers at the table as she sopped up the gravy on her plate with the homemade biscuits. Both our children (11 and 9) cleaned their plates as well (a rare occurrence).
    My only question is, why isn’t this in your cookbook??? We’ve made most of the recipes in there and this is by far our favorite of anything we’ve made of yours. Thank you and please keep saving the rest of us armatures from looking as such.
    Take care and stay safe!
    Tim

    • — Tim C. on January 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you and your family enjoyed it, Tim! You’ll be happy to know it’s in cookbook #2, which is coming out in October 😊.

      • — Jenn on January 24, 2021
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  • Although I occasionally eat bacon, I don’t like the bacon taste in food as it overwhelms many other tastes. Will the pancetta taste be obvious in this dish? Can I reduce the amount, or is there a suitable substitution? There’s a snowstorm in our forecast and this would be a perfect dish to make. ( I love your beef stew with the carrots and potatoes. Its the best.)

    • — Susan B on January 22, 2021
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    • The pancetta adds another layer of flavor but definitely is not overwhelming. Feel free to reduce it a bit or just omit it if you’d like. It will still be great!

      • — Jenn on January 24, 2021
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • Absolutely Delicious!!! Un met pour recevoir!! Beaucoup d’étapes mais très bien expliquées.

    • — Josée Senécal on January 18, 2021
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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
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  • 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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