Stewing Chicken Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin

This recipe sits among the greatest in memory. Legend says it goes back to when contemporary France was ruled by the Gauls, but curiously, written record of it only dates back to the early 20th century. Julia Child championed the recipe for the American audience in the 1960s.

There exist endless variations of this recipe, with different tips, tricks, and techniques. Traditionally, the recipe calls for an old rooster to be braised for a long time. We found that our stewing chickens make for the perfect substitute, better than normal chicken. This recipe shines with a long cook, and young chicken can't stand up to such cooking times.

This recipe is adapted from Julia Child's, with some modern updates that stay true to the soul of the original.


For the Chicken

  • Stewing chicken in pieces
  • 500mL red wine (about 2/3rds of a bottle)
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 quart of chicken stock and/or water
  • 1lb bacon, sliced into lardons
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

For the Beurre Manie

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour

For the Onions

  • 20 (ish) white pearl onions
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • Unsalted butter
  • Olive oil
  • 4 sprigs of parsley
  • 4 sprigs of thyme

For the Mushrooms

  • ½ lb mushrooms of your choice, sliced
  • 1 shallot, minced


For the Chicken

Marinating the chicken is an optional step: stir the teaspoon of salt in with the wine, and marinate the chicken in the salty wine in a ziplock bag or airtight container overnight in the fridge. The salt will help season the chicken, but it’s important to be conservative with the amount, as the wine will be reduced later. After marinating, pat the chicken very dry. We recommend leaving it on a sheet tray uncovered in the fridge for an hour after drying it to make sure it’s completely dry. Reserve the marinade.

In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, melt a tablespoon of butter and fry the lardons in it until barely crispy. Remove and set aside. Remove excess fat from the pot.

Sear the chicken pieces skin side down until well browned. If you did not marinate the chicken, salt it before searing. If you marinated the chicken in salty wine, further salt is not necessary at this time. Remove and set aside. Remove excess fat from the pot.

Add the wine. If you marinated the chicken, use the reserved wine. Stir in tomato paste, then add garlic and thyme. Return the chicken and bacon. Bring to a boil, then down to a simmer, and reduce by 25%, for about 5-10 minutes.

Add the chicken stock. Make sure it fully covers the chicken. If it does not, add enough water to do so. Simmer for about an hour, until the chicken is very tender and about 195º F. That may sound high, but this dish is great when the chicken is pull apart tender, and these older chickens are a bit tougher to begin with.

The above portion of the recipe can be done the day before serving. If doing so, let the pot with all of its contents cool and keep it in the fridge overnight. The next day, a layer of fat will have risen to the top. Remove and discard it. Return the pot to a simmer, and briefly warm the chicken and bacon before removing and setting aside. Remove the herbs and garlic and discard.

If doing it all on the same day, remove the chicken and bacon and reserve, skim off fat.

If doing this over two days, the onions and mushrooms can be prepared before this next step. If doing this in one day, prepare the onions and mushrooms while the chicken cooks during the previous step.

Reduce the wine/stock mixture by about 50% or until the consistency is thick like a soup but not like a gravy. If you did not let the chicken rest overnight, you will need to skim off fat frequently. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.

For the Beurre Manie

A beurre manie is essentially a reverse roux. Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour in a small bowl and mix with a fork or your hands (it will get very sticky) until the two ingredients are fully combined. This can be done a couple days in advance and stored in the fridge, but it should be at room temperature when you use it.

Mount sauce with the beurre manie, stirring rapidly as you add little pieces of it at a time. Stir each little piece until it’s fully dissolved before you add the next one. You may not need to add all of the beurre manie. You can stop when the consistency is to your liking. Simmer for a couple more minutes after the beurre manie is all whisked in.

For the Onions

In a skillet or saute pan, melt the butter in the oil over medium heat. When the butter stops foaming and before it browns, add the onions. Saute them for 10 minutes, frequently rolling the onions around in the pan. The onions will not evenly brown uniformly, but frequently rolling them will get close.

Add stock, parsley, and thyme, and reduce to a simmer, and cover for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the lid, and continue reducing the stock and rolling the onions around until the liquid has evaporated. Set aside until assembly.

For the Mushrooms

Place a skillet over high heat and saute the mushrooms in olive oil. When they start to brown, season them with salt and add the butter. Turn the heat down to medium/low, and add the shallots.

In the same pot, or a serving dish, combine the reduced liquid, chicken, bacon, onions, mushrooms, and garnish with parsley as desired.