Coq au vin, pronounced “coco van,” is a hearty winter dish of chicken braised in wine, lardons (bacon,) mushrooms, and garlic. The word coq means rooster in French, and this dish was traditionally made with a rooster or tough, older hen.
It’s a rustic “peasant” meal but it’s fancy enough to serve at a dinner party. While the wine used in the dish is typically from the Burgundy region, many regions of France have variants of coq au vin using the local wine. A medium-bodied red table wine such as a Côtes du Rhône or a California merlot will work well with this dish.
As far as what to serve with the coq au vin, it’s a good idea to serve some crusty sourdough bread to sop up the sauce. A plain green salad would also be a fine accompaniment. And of course, a decent red wine to drink.
Coq au Vin
Bacon, pastured and nitrate-free (3 slices)
Onions, yellow or white, medium (2)
Garlic cloves (8)
Tomato paste (2 TBS) — where to buy tomato paste
Thyme leaves, fresh (2 tsp) or dried (1/2 tsp)
Sea salt — where to buy sea salt
Red wine, dry (750 ml bottle)
Arrowroot or tapioca starch (3 TBS) —
Bay leaves (2) — where to buy bay leaves
Chicken pieces, bone-in, skinless, pastured or free-range organic (4 lbs) — where to buy chicken meat
Black pepper, freshly ground — where to buy black pepper
Pearl onions, frozen (2 cups)
Butter, unsalted, grass-fed (3 TBS) — where to buy butter
Coconut sugar, sucanat, or honey (2 tsp) — where to buy honey or; sucanat
Mushrooms, cremini (10 oz)
EquipmentCrock pot or slow cooker
1. Fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes.
2. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate, leaving all but 2 tablespoons of fat in the skillet. Refrigerate bacon until serving time.
3. Peel the onions and garlic cloves. Mince the onions and crush the garlic.
4. Add the onions, garlic, tomato paste, thyme and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to the skillet. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are softened and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Stir in the bottle of wine, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until the mixture has reduced down to about 3 cups, another 8 to 10 minutes.
6. Transfer the mixture to your crock pot or slow cooker and stir in the arrowroot and bay leaves until evenly combined.
7. Season the chicken with sea salt and black pepper and arrange in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low until the meat is tender, about 4 to 5 hours.
8. Thaw the pearl onions and take out the mushrooms. If the mushrooms are small, cut in half. If they are large, cut them into quarters.
9. About 20 minutes before serving, bring the pearl onions, 1/2 cup of filtered water, butter and coconut sugar or honey to a boil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
10. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the onions are tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.
11. Uncover, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook until all the liquid evaporates, 3 to 4 minutes.
12. Add the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to the mixture.
13. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are browned and glazed, 8 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
14. Remove the bay leaves from the crock pot, stir in the pearl onion mixture, and season with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
15. Crumble the bacon. Ladle the stew into individual bowls and sprinkle each bowl evenly with bacon crumbles.
Photo Credit: Food Thinkers, on Flickr