This traditional coq au vin recipe is a hearty red wine-braised chicken dish filled with meaty mushrooms and crispy bacon. It’s the perfect stew for cooler weather, or when you’re craving a comforting meal. Serve with buttery mashed potatoes or egg noodles to soak up all of the delicious sauce.
I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.
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Why you should make this recipe
Braises and stews are great comfort meals. This meal gives you an easy gateway into French cooking with a simple, yet satisfying dinner.
- Versatile – Traditionally, coq au vin is made with a whole chicken, cut up into 8 pieces. To streamline the process, and because dark meat holds up better in a braise or stew, I used chicken leg quarters. You can use a whole chicken, or just chicken thighs, if you prefer.
- Easy – This recipe is not at all difficult. It does require a little time, but it won’t take all afternoon.
- Make ahead – This dish gets even better the next day, so it is a great option for a make ahead meal.
Traditional coq au vin recipe
The basics of this coq au vin follow a traditional recipe, with a few variations. I’ve omitted the Cognac, and I’ve used only dark meat chicken instead of a whole bird. This red wine braised dish is a hearty meal that is perfect for cooler weather, although I enjoy it anytime of the year.
About 12 years ago, when this recipe was originally posted, there were communities like the JC100, celebrating what would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday. That was the inspiration for this version of her famous coq au vin recipe.
This streamlined version of the classic French dish uses ingredients commonly found in most kitchens.
- Dark meat chicken – I separated the drumstick from the thigh before cooking.
- Mushrooms – Cremini mushrooms are perfect here. They are widely available and have great flavor.
- Bacon – You can also use cubes of pancetta in place of bacon, if you prefer. Pancetta is cured, but not smoked. Bacon is cured, then smoked, so it has a different taste.
- Butter + flour – These 2 ingredients will be mixed together to make a paste. It is called a beurre manie, which is used to thicken sauces.
- Onion – I prefer chopping a yellow onion instead of peeling pearl onions. If you love pearl onions, feel free to substitute with them.
- Red wine – The preferred wine for a traditional coq au vin recipe is a Burgundy. I had a Bordeaux, so that’s what I used. You can also use a Pinot Noir.
How to make
Here’s a quick summary of how to make this traditional coq au vin recipe. Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the full recipe.
- First, start by cooking the bacon. Use the bacon fat, with a bit of olive oil to brown the chicken.
- Then, add the onions and garlic, and cook until golden.
- Add tomato paste, mushrooms, and herbs to the pan.
- Finally, add the wine and the stock, then simmer the chicken for about 30 minutes until it is cooked through.
Finally, you’ll remove the cooked chicken to thicken the sauce with the butter and flour mixture. After it is added, the sauce will thicken and become very glossy.
Instead of adding the bacon in with the sauce, I sprinkle it over the finished dish like a garnish. Adding the bacon into the sauce will make it soggy, which is counterproductive when you just spent time cooking it until it is crispy. So, if you are like me, and you don’t like soggy bacon, add it at the end of cooking.
Traditional coq au vin recipe FAQ’s
Typically, a Burgundy wine. A Pinot Noir or a Bordeaux are great options.
Absolutely! As with all stews or braises, it gets even better the next day.
If stored properly, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, it will last up to 5 days.
Variations and substitutions
- Swap out the red wine for white wine to make coq au vin Blanc. It is absolutely delicious.
- You can adjust the amount of wine in the dish if you prefer less, just replace the amount with stock.
Coq au vin serving suggestions
I really love this with mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles to soak up all of the delicious sauce.
For a lower carb option, serve with a green salad or green beans.
Helpful tools and equipment
- A wide, shallow pan like this braiser is the perfect pan for cooking coq au vin.
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- 3 pounds chicken drumsticks and bone-in thighs, skin on (see note) // 1.4kg
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 oz. bacon, cut into 1/4 inch strips // 113g
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 - 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 8 oz. fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced // 230g
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 sprigs of thyme, or 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, or 1 tsp. dried thyme
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 cups red wine (Burgundy, Pinot Noir, or Bordeaux are perfect here) // 590ml
- 2 cups chicken stock // 480ml
- 4 tbsp. all purpose flour
- 4 tbsp. butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup flat leaf Italian parsley, washed, dried and chopped
- Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot, like a cast iron Dutch oven or braiser, over medium heat. Add the bacon, and cook until bacon is crispy, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and set aside, leaving the fat in the pan.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to the bacon fat, then brown the chicken, turning drumsticks to brown all over. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan.
- Add the onions into the pan and sauté over moderate heat until golden, about 8 - 10 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute.
- Add tomato paste and cook for a minute or two, combining it with the onions and garlic. Add mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until mushrooms begin to release some of their liquid.
- Add bay leaf and thyme to the pan. Pour in the wine and stock, and stir to combine. Return chicken to the pan, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Let chicken simmer for 30 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking, use a fork to blend together the butter and flour until it is a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove cooked chicken from pan and set aside. Increase the heat to medium high, then add the flour and butter paste to the pan. Let the sauce come up to simmer and cook until it is thickened, about 5 minutes. Sauce should coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove skin from cooked chicken, then nestle it back into the sauce. Let it gently simmer, uncovered, for about 8 - 10 minutes. Sprinkle the crispy bacon on top, along with fresh parsley, if desired.
- Remove bay leaf and stems from fresh thyme before serving.
- You can also use one whole chicken, cut up. However, white meat tends to get dried out a bit, and I find the dark meat holds up better in a braised dish like this.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1230Total Fat: 65gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 38gCholesterol: 536mgSodium: 1229mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 106g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Originally published 5/22/12.