Coq Au Vin

Learn how to make traditional Coq Au Vin (chicken in red wine) with this delicious French recipe.  It’s surprisingly easy to make, and slow-simmered in the most heavenly, rich, and flavorful red wine sauce.

This classic Coq Au Vin recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and slow simmered in the most delicious French red wine sauce. | gimmesomeoven.com

I feel like I’m having my own little “Julie and Julia” moment with today’s post.  

Well, I mean, I didn’t bone a duck…or cook a live lobster…or make Bouef Bourginon (although that’s next on my list to master).  But I did finally learn how to make traditional Coq Au Vin.  And guys, I don’t know why I’ve been so intimidated by classic French cooking for so many years.  It was totally easy!  And totally delicious. And, it was totally inspired by the one and only…

…Julia Child.

Oui.  I’m afraid I have to admit that, up until this summer, I was totally “that millennial” who missed the boat with Julia Child.  I’m just young enough that I had never really grown up with her shows, I’d never really read her cookbooks, and I mayyyyy have had images of Meryl Streep (or Dan Aykroyd) come to mind anytime I heard her name.  But I knew that she was a cooking legend, and I knew that she loved living in France.  So this past summer, I decided to tuck her memoir into my suitcase on my own trip to France.  (And then may have made Barclay watch “Julie and Julia” with me on my iPad on the plane ride over, you know, just to get in the spirit.)  And then he will be the first to tell you that once I started the book, I absolutely could not put it down.

You guys, how did I never know that Julia was so freaking cool?!?

And brilliant?  And hilarious?  And brave?  And adventurous?  And progressive?  And such a kindred spirit with a love for getting to know new people, and new cultures, and new ideas, and new places, and — of course — new foods?!  Not to mention, someone who openly shared with others about how much she adored her sweet husband, and worked diligently with him over the years to care for their relationship?  And more than anything, someone who truly seemed to just live life to the absolute fullest, exploring and learning and celebrating just about everywhere she went?

Oh my goodness, I was completely captivated and inspired by her.  And reading all about her adventures in France while Barclay and I were having our own adventures in France couldn’t have been more perfect.  And of course, reading page after page of her mouth-watering adventures in French cooking made me all the more excited to try so many of her favorite French dishes for myself.  And one night at dinner on our Viking River Cruise, I finally got an authentic taste of one of Julia’s favorite dishes that I had always wanted to try:

Coq Au Vin.

My Viking River Cruise | gimmesomeoven.com

Hanging out with Julia on the deck of our Viking River Cruise ship. :)

For those who’ve never heard of this dish (such as my friends last night who said, “whaaa?” when I mentioned this post today), Coq Au Vin is a traditional French dish that literally means “chicken in wine”.

I’ve known of the dish for years and years, and had remembered it being mentioned in “Julia and Julia”, and then read all about it in Julia Child’s memoir.  But for some reason, I had always assumed it probably included some crazy-difficult French cooking techniques that weren’t worth the effort.

Not so…at all!  :)

As it turns out, classic Coq Au Vin is actually surprisingly easy to make!

And it is unbelievably rich and delicious (and totally worth the effort).  ;)  The only “difficult” part of the recipe might be finding the time to make it, since it took me nearly 2 hours from start to finish.  But hey, just find a weekend evening where you have a little extra time, turn on some music, pour some of the leftover wine into a glass, and get ready to enjoy the most amazing slow-simmered chicken in red wine sauce.

This classic Coq Au Vin recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and slow simmered in the most delicious French red wine sauce. | gimmesomeoven.com

One of the starring ingredients in this recipe is, of course, the red wine.  Traditionally, Coq Au Vin is made with a lighter French wine, such as a Bordeaux or Côtes du Rhône.  But I tested this recipe a few times and loved mine with a bolder Cabernet.  So I say just go with whatever wine sounds good to you.

This classic Coq Au Vin recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and slow simmered in the most delicious French red wine sauce. | gimmesomeoven.com

Then, the other key to this recipe (I would say) is getting all of your ingredients prepped in advance.  Usually I’m the sort of multi-tasker who loves to chop as I cook, but this recipe goes pretty quickly once everything starts cooking, so I recommend taking the time to get everything ready to go beforehand.

This classic Coq Au Vin recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and slow simmered in the most delicious French red wine sauce. | gimmesomeoven.com

Then just follow all of the steps below — marinating your chicken, frying up some bacon, browning your chicken, sauteeing your veggies, mixing the sauce, and then letting everything slow simmer in the pot for an hour or so until your chicken is fall-off-the-bone-tender.  

And then — voila! — this classic dish will be yours to enjoy.

So if you’ve ever been curious about Coq Au Vin, or French cooking in general, I totally recommend giving it a try.  Oh, and if you’re looking for a good read this winter, I also wholeheartedly recommend giving Julia’s memoir a read.  She’s the best. ♥

This classic Coq Au Vin recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and slow simmered in the most delicious French red wine sauce. | gimmesomeoven.com

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Coq Au Vin

This classic Coq Au Vin recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and slow simmered in the most delicious French red wine sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds chicken pieces, skin-on and bone-in (I used 4 thighs and 4 legs)
  • 2.5 cups dry red wine (see suggestions below)
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock
  • 8 ounces thick-cut bacon, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and finely-diced (or 1/2 cup finely-diced white onion)
  • 1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
  • 3/4 pound baby bella mushrooms, halved
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • chopped curly-leaf parsley, for garnish
  • optional: mashed potatoes or cooked egg noodles, for serving

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in a large bowl or ziplock bag.  Add wine and beef (or chicken) stock, and gently toss to combine.  Cover/seal and refrigerate for anywhere from 1 to 8 hours.
  2. When you’re ready to cook the coq au vin, fry the bacon over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven (or any heavy-bottomed stock pot or deep saute pan) until crispy.  Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a separate plate, and set aside.  There should be about 3 tablespoons of bacon grease remaining.  (If not, add in some extra olive oil to make up the difference.)
  3. While the bacon is cooking, remove the chicken from the wine and pat dry, being sure to reserve the wine.  (We’ll use it later!)  Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.  Then, once the bacon has been removed from the pan, add half of the chicken to the remaining bacon grease, and saute the chicken for 2-3 minutes per side until browned.  Transfer the cooked chicken to a separate plate, and repeat with the second half of the uncooked chicken.  Once the second batch has been cooked, transfer it to a separate plate, and set aside.
  4. Add the shallot to the remaining bacon grease, and saute for 3 minutes until mostly cooked through, stirring occasionally.  Add in the pearl onions, mushrooms, and garlic, and saute for 4-5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned.
  5. Stir in the flour and tomato paste until completely combined, and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.  Slowly add in the Cognac (or brandy), and stir for 1 minute.  Add in the reserved red wine, thyme sprigs and bay leaves, and stir to combine.
  6. Add the cooked bacon and chicken back to the pot.  Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 60-80 minutes, until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  7. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Serve immediately over mashed potatoes or noodles, garnished with chopped parsley if desired.

Traditionally, coq au vin is made with lighter red wines, like a Bordeaux, Pinot Noir, Côtes du Rhône, etc.  But I’ve found that I prefer it with a more full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon.

The cooking time listed above does not include the amount of time needed for the chicken to marinate in the red wine, which can vary anywhere from 1 to 8 hours.

All images and text ©

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

This classic Coq Au Vin recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and slow simmered in the most delicious French red wine sauce. | gimmesomeoven.com

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41 comments on “Coq Au Vin”

  1. I’m older than you and do remember her tv shows on PBS. I fell in love with Julia as a kid and then became a French major so I fell even more in love with her.

    I have one of the 1st or 2nd printings of her cookbook and have actually made the beouf borginogne – delish and not difficult just time consuming.

    You might also like her memoir that is letters to her friend Avis. Very sweet indeed. It’s called As Always, Julia.

  2. I love this dish, it’s so delicious!

    Rachael xx.

  3. Ooooh, I’ve always wanted to give this dish a try. Love Julia Child!

  4. Just read My Life in France…love Julia Child and her approach to food!

  5. Have you listened to the History Chicks podcast about her?! You would love it! http://thehistorychicks.com/episode-29-julia-child-2/

  6. Looks scrummy. I don’t usually put tomato in mine, but I’m going to give it a go, as I always think mine is lacking in something. Maybe this is the answer!

  7. That is one of my all-time favorite books! I became a bit of a Julia Child fanatic after I read it. I made the most divine coq au vin a few weeks ago and it reminded me how much I love a Julia recipe :-) Thanks for a great post, your photos are gorgeous (as usual)
    xx

  8. I’ve been making this dish for years as our Christmas dinner. I’ve always followed the recipe from James Beard. This holiday I’ll try Julia’s recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I would love to see someone look at (and smell) a dish of Julia’s (and your) coq-au-vin and say… “No thanks, I’d rather remain a vegetarian!”

    Julia also had a show with Chef Jacques Pepin that was wonderful, not to mention her TV show with a different master chef on each episode in her later years. She was pure joy!

    And, believe it or not, I believe that the Public Broadcasting Service, where I saw my 1st Julia Child show 53 years ago back in 1963, was in reality, the very first expression of our modern Internet! It taught us how to cook… it taught us the value of the earth’s most magnificent (and small) animals, and it taught us what great music and art can be. It showed us what other people are like, and…
    it flew us right into outer space!!

  10. Our family loves Julia.  Last year my daughter studied all about her for a 4th grade research project the Wax Museum.  She was so excited to study her, cook from her cookbooks and watch videos of her show.  Wish I could attach a picture for you!!  She nailed it!!! We also loved her book and the movie Julie & Julia.  I truly believe Julia has inspired my daughter to study the culinary arts.  Makes my heart happy!!   
    From a local KC Gal – happy holidays!!!
    XOXO

  11. Oh, how I love to see a classic recipe done right. This is just how I learned to make it in culinary school and can’t wait to try it again. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Looks Wonderful !!

  13. What a lovely reminder! Love this dish and had seen the references in print and screen, but have simply forgotten! Thia is the perfect time of year for this dish, so thank you!

  14. I made this last night for dinner and it was delicious!! The recipe was super simple, and fun to make. I used chicken thighs for the dish, and they were perfect. I can’t wait to make this again for a bigger family dinner. This recipe is going in my recipe book!

  15. I’ve always wanted to make Coq Au Vin – it looks amazing! But oh my gosh, Beouf Bourginon is something completely amazing. We blogged about it earlier this year and it is INCREDIBLE! My favorite 3 hr dish, lol!

  16. I first heard of coq a vin in the movie Leap Year (another great one with Amy Adams, and SUPER funny–one of my all-time favorites). I saw Julie and Julia, too, and now you are making me want to read her autobiography! Quick question–if we don’t want to use wine, is there a substitute that would yield good results? Thank you!

  17. Hello and thank you for this recipe. I would love to make this as a second main dish for Christmas. Is it acceptable to stop at some point and refrigerate overnight then put it in a crockpot to finish the cooking. I was thinking after step 5, or maybe after adding the bacon and chicken back to the pot.
    My husband just looked at the pictures and gave his okay. This is a man who doesn’t like mushrooms and is not very fond of chicken but eats it.

    • You’re welcome, Betty, we hope you enjoy! And we haven’t tried doing that, so it’s hard to say for sure. However, we think that should probably work okay!

  18. Making this now – so excited!! Looks phenomenal! Chicken is marinating and using 5 legs and 6 thighs because I know Hubby will want leftovers. Will let you know how it goes…

  19. This has been on my cooking list this year and I’m planning on giving it a go next weekend – so glad to hear it was easy. Now I need to get the memoir and fall more in love with Julia Child’s life.

  20. I LOVE My Life in France – what an interesting treasure of a book!

  21. Ali, I just finished literally licking my plate and I have to tell you how incredible this dish is! My husband said it is among one of the best meals I have ever made! Thank you!!

    • Thank you for your sweet words, Emily — we’re so glad you and your husband loved this! :)

  22. Back when SNL was worth watching, they did the greatest parody of Julia Child. Dan Akroyd I believe played the part of JC. He had her accent down pat! Julia was showing us how to prepare and roast a chicken. In the process, she slices off a finger, tries to continue, blood is squirting everywhere, she gets light headed, and finally passes out. Way-y-y too funny!!

  23. Made this for dinner tonight. So beautiful and delicious!  It definitely took time to come together but I was happy that it was relatively easy to put together! This would be a great dish to put together for guests!

  24. Made this last night! Added peas- such a delicious sauce. My husband was skeptical at first, but all the flavors blended so well together.

  25. Thanks so much for sharing and simplifying. Sounds delicious!!

  26. Look at that colour and all that gorgeousness!

    Well the closest I’ve been to Juila Child (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to get close to her?!) is when I went to Paris for my Spring Break in Uni, all by myself, and ended up learning a slurp-worthy boeuf bourguignon from a local French man. I have also made her Queen Sheba Cake.

    And now your coq au vin is on my list. It’s perfect for winter, isn’t it?!

  27. This is a true French delight. I like your choice of Cabernet but I generally prefer Côtes du Rhône or the best for me is Malbec (called Côt Noir) from Cahors.

  28. I am going to try to make this however I am allergic to garlic so I’m leaving it out.  Also I don’t like cognac so what can I use instead?  

    • Hi Shaune! If you don’t care for cognac, you could try Sherry, or you could just leave the cognac out and not worry about swapping something for it. We hope you enjoy!

  29. I made this for my husband as a special treat for Valentine”s…he was blown away! Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe…it was awesome! I love your blog!

    • We’re so glad to hear that, Lynne, and thanks for your sweet words about the blog! :)

  30. Made this for the first time a couple weeks ago. It was great! Thanks for the recipe!

  31. I made this for a two-person dinner party last night and it turned out really well! The only reason I didn’t give it a full five stars is that I found it a tad too “winey” for me (my guest however raved and RAVED about it!). I think I would reduce the wine by maybe a quarter to a half cup and replace it with some more stock. Otherwise, it was incredibly flavorful and robust. I served it with garlic thyme roasted potatoes and a double chocolate flourless torte for dessert. What a great meal. Thank you so much, Ali!

    Rating: 4.5
    • Thank you for taking the time to share this with us, Kate — we’re so happy it was a hit! :) Next time, you could definitely replace some of the wine with chicken stock. Btw, those potatoes and torte sound FANTASTIC! :D