Classic coq au vin
- March 2017
- Serves 4
- Hands-on 1 hour, simmering 1½-1¾ hours, plus at least 12 hours marinating
The most succulent chicken, slow-cooked in a rich gravy, then served with mash for soaking up every last drop, makes classic French coq au vin the best of dinner party dishes.
- 30.1g (12.2g saturated)
- 6.2g (4.1g sugars)
- 750ml red wine (preferably burgundy), plus an extra splash
- 1.8-2kg quality free-range chicken, jointed into 8-10 pieces
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 fresh thyme sprigs
- 30g unsalted butter
- 200g piece unsmoked pancetta or British free-range streaky bacon, cut into chunky lardons
- 12 small shallots, halved
- 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed
- 50ml brandy or cognac
- 250ml brown chicken stock, plus extra if needed
- 200g small button mushrooms
You’ll also need…
- Large, heavy-based casserole with a lid
- Start the day before: pour the red wine into a large non-reactive (glass/ stainless steel/stoneware) mixing bowl, add the chicken and herbs, cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 12 hours (or up to 24).
- The next day, heat the butter in the casserole over a low-medium heat. Add the pancetta/ lardons and cook, stirring often, for 8-10 minutes until golden (don’t burn the butter). Lift out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove the chicken pieces from the bowl, pat them dry and season with a little salt (reserve the marinade). Add the chicken to the casserole, skin-side down, then fry for a few minutes until lightly golden. Turn, cook for a minute more, then set aside with the lardons.
- Add the shallots to the casserole with a pinch of salt and fry, stirring often, until golden. Turn down the heat, let the pot cool (off the heat) for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic. Return the pot to the heat and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Return the lardons to the pot and add the chicken pieces, skin-side up. Remove from the heat, pour over the brandy/cognac and light it using a long taper or match (it can flare up so be careful). Once the flames subside (you can put the lid on briefly to put them out), put the pot back over the heat and add the reserved marinade and 250ml stock.
- Bring to a gentle simmer, add the mushrooms, then part-cover the pot and cook for 1½-1¾ hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and falling off the bone – the sauce will still be quite thin. If the liquid falls below two thirds up the chicken, add more stock, then continue as before. When ready, add the extra splash of wine, taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve with mash, steamed greens and a baguette to mop up the juices.
Keep the stew, covered, for up to 3 days in the fridge – it helps the flavours develop; or freeze for up to 1 month. Reheat until bubbling to serve.
Coq au vin is traditionally made with a cockerel (from Packington Free Range and good butchers). They’re big (3.5kg) so if you use one of these rather than a 2kg chicken you’ll need to double the other ingredients and simmer it for 2-2½ hours.
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