Another feast for the palate, prepare to have your taste buds enthralled by this famous French dish, a braise of chicken cooked with wine, bacon, mushrooms and onions.
Various legends exist as to the origin of Coq Au Vin, some of which trace it back to Julius Caesar’s encounter with the Gauls who populated what is now France. Though the origin is uncertain, what is certain is that it’s at least 400 years old. Coq Au Vin, French for “rooster with wine,” was a common peasant dish in former centuries. Rural families in France commonly kept chickens and a rooster. The rooster would be kept until it was too old to perform its duties, and would then be eaten. Old roosters, however, were tough and stringy, so the common preparation was to slow-simmer it in wine in order to tenderize the meat and make it more palatable. Coq Au Vin had thus become known as “poor man’s food.”
It wasn’t until the 20th century that Coq Au Vin achieved popularity both in and outside of France, as well as among both rich and poor. Over the centuries it rose from its roots of poverty to achieve the rank of fine cuisine (though now no longer using old rooster ;)
Coq Au Vin is among the most popular of all French dishes. It achieved its popularity here in the U.S. with Julia Child’s inclusion of it in her 1961 classic, Mastering The Art of French Cooking.
Here is a Daring Gourmet version of this classic dish, maximizing its luxurious flavors while maintaining its authenticity.
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 4 medium shallots, halved (or one small yellow onion, quarted and then halved again)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 oz white button mushrooms, quartered
- Salt and pepper
- 4 chicken thighs and 4 drumsticks, skin intact
- 2 cups dry red wine (such as Zinfandel)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 oz thick-sliced bacon, fried and chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 package (13 oz) egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until browned, another 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tbs of oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken pieces. When the oil is hot enough that a drop of water sputters, add the chicken, in batches being careful to not overcrowd, and cook uncovered until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Add the tomato paste, red wine, ½ cup of the stock, and thyme to the pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and deglaze the bottom of the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Return the chicken to the pot and cover. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chicken shows no sign of pink when the thickest parts are cut into. During the last 5 minutes, add the bacon, onions and mushrooms. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and vegetables to a platter and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Heat the butter in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once melted add the flour and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until the mixture reaches a light golden brown. Add the remaining chicken stock (1/2 cup), whisking until smooth and thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Return the chicken and vegetables to the pot and turn to coat with the sauce.
- Serve the chicken spooned over the cooked noodles.