Recipe: Weeknight Coq au Vin (2024)

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Sara Kate Gillingham

Sara Kate Gillingham

Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.

updated Nov 7, 2019

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Recipe: Weeknight Coq au Vin (1)

Serves6 to 8

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Recipe: Weeknight Coq au Vin (2)

These swing of the weather can be really confusing for a cook. On the one hand, we’re psyched for salads and iced coffee, but then there are days when it’s pouring rain and you’re freezing. Enter: coq au vin (chicken stewed in wine).

On those chilly days, I scour my pantry for enough of the ingredients to make a dish that passes for a classic coq au vin — chicken thighs, dried porcini mushrooms, a red onion, pancetta, and red wine. What I didn’t have was time.

Is it the French name that makes people, myself included, think the dish is going to take all day? It won’t. Although some time is usually taken up doing things like blanching the bacon, skimming the fat, and reducing the sauce, I pushed things a bit. In just over 30 minutes dinner was served. Much of that time is when the dish is simmering, so you can set the table, start a load of laundry, read a New Yorker article, or just stare into space.

Imagine: Coq au vin could be your new weeknight go-to meal.

It is possible to make this dish with any part of the chicken; I like the thighs because they are succulent and nestle into a pot nicely. If you have fresh mushrooms and want to make a super-classic version of the dish, add them to the sauce before reducing, just as the recipe is written for the dried mushrooms. Pearl onions are what you’ll usually find in coq au vin, but they require a few extra steps, so for something equally tasty and not nearly as laborious, use any standard onion or a few shallots.

Coq au vin is usually served over wide egg noodles, but I like it with a few hunks of baguette and good butter. Roasted potatoes also make a good side dish.

Tester’s Notes

One of the very first dinner party dishes I cooked was coq au vin — albeit it was for my family in my parent’s house while I was in high school. It took the better part of the evening and skimping on my homework to make, but I’ll never forgot how proud I felt pulling it out of the oven to serve.

This version takes a whole lot of the legwork out of the equation and transforms it into a weeknight dinner that couldn’t be easier to pull off — I wish I had found this recipe in high school! Even though the technique is simplified, the results are nearly the same as the traditional version. It’s a meal that’s so comforting and feels ridiculously fast and fancy. While it can be served over egg noodles or mashed potatoes, I love letting it shine all on its own, with nothing but crusty bread on the side to soak up the sauce.


Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info


  • 6 to 8

    large bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 pounds total)

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 3/4 cup

    dried wild mushrooms (about 1 ounce)

  • 1/2 cup

    (1/2-inch) cubed pancetta or bacon (about 4 ounces)

  • 1

    large red or yellow onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 2

    medium carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 5

    large cloves garlic, peeled and gently smashed

  • 2 tablespoons

    tomato paste

  • 3 cups

    dry, fruity red wine, such as Zinfandel or Burgundy

  • 1 cup

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2

    bay leaves

  • 4

    fresh thyme sprigs

  • 6 to 8

    fresh parsley sprigs, for garnish


  1. Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and pour enough boiling water over to just cover; set aside.

  2. Place the pancetta or bacon in a 4- to 6-quart (large enough to accommodate the chicken) deep skillet or Dutch oven with a lid over medium heat, and cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onions and cook another minute, until onions begin to soften. Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Push the pancetta and onions to one side of the pan. Turn the heat up to medium-high, add the chicken skin-side down in a single layer (in batches, if necessary), and cook until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp and golden-brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the chicken skin-side up and drain off any excess fat.

  3. Add the carrots, garlic, tomato paste, wine, chicken broth, bay leaves, and thyme. Lower the heat so that the liquid just barely simmers. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and an instant-read thermometer reads 165°F, about 20 minutes.

  4. Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter. Skim any excess fat off the top of the liquid. Remove the mushrooms from their soaking liquid and add them to the pot. Pour the mushroom liquid through a fine sieve or cheesecloth (to remove any grit) and into the pot. Turn the heat up to high and boil the mixture until the sauce is reduced by a third to a half, depending on how much time you have. Remove the bay leaves and thyme.

  5. A few minutes before serving, put the chicken pieces back into the sauce to reheat. Serve each chicken thigh topped with a ladle of sauce and garnished with chopped parsley leaves or a whole parsley sprig.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Recipe: Weeknight Coq au Vin (2024)


What do you serve with coq au vin? ›

Classically, boiled or mashed potatoes are served with it, but I think spätzle, noodles, or a creamy potato gratin work better. In the old days, an old rooster was used. I like using a younger chicken and only braising for 45 minutes or so.

What did Julia Child serve with coq au vin? ›

As Child observes in her original head notes, the dish “is made with either white or red wine, but red is more characteristic.” Traditionally accompanied by parsley potatoes, it is here served with potatoes and peas, the latter of which lend a pop of color to the dish's rather earth-toned palette.

Do you leave skin on chicken for coq au vin? ›

Coq Au Vin Ingredients

These are the ingredients you'll need to make this coq au vin recipe: Chicken: This coq au vin recipe starts with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Seasonings: Season the chicken with salt and ground black pepper. Bacon: Bacon (and its drippings) add tons of meaty flavor and depth.

What is the best wine to use for coq au vin? ›

Coq au vin is a classic French dish made by stewing chicken in red wine, lardons (small strips or cubes of pork fat), mushrooms, and optionally garlic. The wine is typically a young Burgundy, but Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux, and many other French wines can also be used.

What was the meal that changed Julia Child's life? ›

For their first meal in France, Paul ordered oysters, sole meunière and a green salad. Child devoured the meal, calling it “perfection.” Alex Prud'homme, Child's grandnephew and cowriter of her memoir, “My Life in France,” opened the book with this now famous scene.

What was Julia Child's favorite restaurant in Paris? ›

Chez Georges is known as one of Julia Child's favorite restaurants, and I certainly know why! My boyfriend and I were two of the only tourists in the restaurant, and we were simply thrilled with the energetic atmosphere, as well as every bite of food and sip of wine.

What is Julia Child's favorite meal? ›

Vichyssoise. Well-known as one of Julia Child's favorite dishes, this chilled leek and potato soup is startling in its simplicity. Aside from the leek, potato, and water, Child's version of the soup calls for barely any additional ingredients.

Why is my coq au vin purple? ›

If your Coq au Vin has a purple hue, it could be due to the type of wine used or overcooking the dish. To avoid this, use a red wine with a lighter color and be mindful of the cooking time.

What does coq au vin mean in French? ›

Coq au vin (/ˌkɒk oʊ ˈvæ̃/; French: [kɔk o vɛ̃], "rooster/co*ck with wine") is a French dish of chicken braised with wine, lardons, mushrooms, and optionally garlic.

Can you use cabernet sauvignon for coq au vin? ›

An authentic coq au vin is made with a red Burgundy wine, such as Pinot Noir. You can also use Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Shiraz or Merlot. Most importantly, pick a high-quality wine that you would actually like to drink, since the wine that you cook with will impact the taste of your meal.

Is Merlot OK for coq au vin? ›

The classic choice for coq au vin is a medium-bodied red wine, such as Burgundy or Pinot Noir, but any light or medium-bodied red wine, such as Merlot or Zinfandel, will work. You don't need to use an expensive bottle; just make sure it's a wine you'd enjoy drinking—no supermarket cooking wine!

What is a substitute for red wine in coq au vin? ›

Alcohol-Free Coq au Vin: Create a tasty and satisfying dish similar to Coq au Vin without using wine. Substitute with grape juice or cranberry juice and add a splash of balsamic vinegar for acidity. Chicken or beef broth are also effective liquid alternatives.

Is coq au vin similar to beef bourguignon? ›

Coq au Vin is the well known French stew where chicken pieces are braised in a luscious, glossy red wine sauce with bacon, mushroom and onions. Like Beef Bourguignon, the beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity: remarkably few ingredients and simple process with results fit for a king – or queen!

What does coq au vin taste like? ›

The sauce's deeply savoury flavour perfumed with herbs and bacon is complex and seems to just linger forever. If I had to call it (and regular readers know I will!), I reckon Coq au Vin is hands down the greatest and certainly the most luxurious chicken stew in the world!

What meal do you eat chicken and waffles? ›

It can be served for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! If you prefer a side dish if serving for breakfast pair it up with a bowl of fresh fruit or buttery grits on the side. If serving for lunch or dinner, savory collard greens makes a wonderful side. Don't forget the hot sauce!

Can you reheat coq au vin in the oven? ›

Reheating Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin can be fully prepared up to two days in advance. You can reheat it on the stove over medium low heat, for about 20 to 25 minutes, or in a preheated 350°F oven for about 30 minutes before serving, if you've brought it to room temperature before reheating.

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