Originally a French dish, Coq Au Vin is a profoundly flavoursome chicken preparation. Chicken, on the bone (and bones have all the flavour!), is cooked in dry red wine, along with a based built of bacon, onions, garlic and dried thyme. There are several versions of the dish. Here we brown the onions, carrots and mushrooms before adding the chicken, though the version wherein the mushrooms are browned separately and added to the chicken towards the end of cooking, is fantastic too! Similarly, most recipes use fresh thyme for this recipe, but we have used the herb in its dried form here instead. This is because dried thyme gives a better depth to the sauce.
2kg chicken pieces (on the bone)
6 ounces lardon or slab bacon, diced
20 pearl onions, peeled
1 carrot, peeled & sliced diagonally
200g baby button mushrooms, cleaned (If using regular-sized mushrooms, slice thickly.)
¾ bottle Australian Pinot Noir
1½ cup chicken stock (Preferably homemade)
¼ cup Cognac
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled & sliced
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
- First, we need to heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. (Ensure that it’s enough room for the chicken.) Drop in the lardon or bacon, and stir. Cook, stirring regularly until lightly browned and slightly crisp.
- As the pork cooks, sift the flour with salt and pepper. (This would ensure that the seasoning mixes with the flour.) If you have a large freezer bag, pour half the seasoned flour in it and add about half the quantity of chicken pieces. Seal the bag and shake so that the chicken is properly coated in the flour. Remove the chicken to a wire rack. (So that any excess flour can drop off.) Repeat with the remaining flour and chicken. If you don’t have a sealable plastic bag, you can just use a large bowl. Just ensure that there’s not too much flour coating the chicken pieces.
- Remove the bacon or lardon with a slotted spoon once done, retaining all the drippings in the pan.
- Place the chicken pieces in the pan, arranging them in a single layer. Not all chicken pieces would be able to fit in one go, and hence you would need to do this in batches. Don’t overcrowd the pan as we need to fry the chicken, not braise in its juices. After a minute or two, check a piece for browning. If it has a nice brown sear on the side touching the pan, flip it and the other pieces over. If not, give it another minute. Remove the chicken pieces once brown on all sides and start with another batch.
- Melt the butter in the same pan, and throw in the onions. Don’t worry about the sediments in the pan as we would deglaze it soon. Lightly brown the onions and then add the garlic. Sauté for a minute, stirring.
- Then, we need to reduce the heat to low and add the mushrooms & carrots. Season with salt. The low heat would ensure that the juices mushrooms release don’t burn off, but help in softening the vegetables. Once all the moisture evaporates from the pan, and the vegetables are slightly brown, pour in the Cognac. All the sediments would instantly come off.
- Stir thoroughly and allow the Cognac to bubble. (If the pan catches too much fire, just cover it. This would cut the oxygen supply to the fire, putting it out.) Add the fried lardon or bacon, chicken, and any juices collected in the plate/ bowl. Cook for 2 minutes, and sprinkle the thyme. Pour in the chicken stock and the red wine.
- Cook for about half an hour. The sauce would have thickened and reduced by then. Add pepper, taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot.
And that is our Coq Au Vin recipe! We would love to know your honest feedback in the comments section.