Recipe of the Week: French Classic Coq Au Vin

Categories: How To, Recipes

Photo by Nathan Yergler
We suggest making this rustic braised chicken stew while it's still semi-cold outside.
From classic comfort foods to regional standouts and dessert, we'll be sharing a new recipe with you each week.

This week, we're tackling the French classic coq au vin.

Literally meaning "cock (rooster) of the wine," the rustic dish was traditionally made using a rooster or any other old barnyard foul that farmers had on hand. These days it's commonly made with chicken and Burgundy wine. Though it was once considered a rural peasant dish, the French comfort food is too decadent to be considered anything but rich.

The dish was first brought into American kitchens en masse by the late and great culinary legend Julia Child. With her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and charming cooking shows, Child changed the way we cook and eat by making the art of French cooking accessible to the general public...and we haven't looked back since.

In Julia's version of coq au vin, chicken is browned in rendered lardons, flambéd with cognac and slow braised in red wine, beef stock and butter. The acids from the alcohol break down the chicken so that by the time it's combined with brown braised onions and sautéed mushrooms, it's so moist and tender it practically falls apart at the touch.

Here's how to make it:

"And thinking back on it [an unforgettable meal in 1948] now reminds me that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite-toujours bon appétit!" -- Julia Child

Coq Au Vin (Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, Mushrooms and Bacon)*recipe adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking


  • 3-4 oz chunk lean bacon
  • 2 1/2 - 3 pounds cut-up frying chicken, bone-in & skin on
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup cognac
  • 3 cups young, full-bodied red wine (typically Burgundy or try Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Chianti)
  • 1-2 cups brown chicken stock, brown stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12-24 brown-braised onions (ingredients follow)
  • 1/2 lb sautéed mushrooms (ingredients follow)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp softened butter, to finish
  • Sprigs of fresh parsley

    For the Oignons Glacés à Brun (Brown-braised Onions):

  • 12-24 peeled pearl onions, about 1 inch in diameter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup of brown stock, canned beef bouillon, dry white wine, red wine or water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A medium herb bouquet: 3 parsley springs, 1/2 bay leaf, and 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme tied in cheesecloth

    For the Champignons Sautés au Beurre (Sautéed Mushrooms):

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washed, well dried, left whole if small, sliced or quartered if large
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced shallots or green onions (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

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    Linda Rogers Weiss
    Linda Rogers Weiss

    I was thinking of this last night! Looks delish. Wish I had a bite.

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