Classic Coq Au Vin (chicken in wine) is a delicious recipe for the winter time. Imagine coming into your kitchen after a brisk walk in the cold outside and being welcomed by the fantastic aromas from your oven!
To marinate or not to marinate?
That is the question, indeed. If you have enough time (for instance if you have an opportunity to start the marinating process the day before) that is great. If not, just increase the oven time.
For the marinade, pour red wine (about one 0.7 l bottle) into a pan and bring to a simmer. Chop up some carrot, celery and onion (or, better, shallots) and add to the wine. Add some thyme, parsley, rosemary and bay leaves and take off the heat. Let cool. Once cold, cover the chicken pieces with the marinade and keep in the refrigerator overnight.
Enter the star of the show
The chicken is the star of the show. Good quality chicken and good quality wine determine the outcome of your efforts here.
I prefer to buy a whole, free range chicken and cut it into pieces myself. But you could also buy legs or thighs. The bones in the stew will add a lot of flavor, so do not use boneless thighs or chicken fillets.
- 1 Whole chicken
- Some carrots, onions or shallots, some celery sticks for either marinade or stew
- Fresh parsley, a rosemary twig, a few twigs of thyme, some bay leaves
- Optional: sliced mushrooms
- Some smoked bacon, cut into small pieces
- One bottle of good quality red wine.
If you marinated the chicken, remove the pieces from the marinade and pat dry with some kitchen towel.
Add a good knob of butter (at least 50 g) to a skillet on a heat source, wait for the butter to bubble and add the chicken pieces. Fry until golden brown on all sides.
Take the chicken pieces out of the skillet and put into an oven dish. Into the same skillet add chopped onion, celery and carrot and fry (if you marinated, there is no need for this, as these vegs are in the marinade already). I like to add some mushroom and garlic at this point. The mushroom will stretch the dish to serve six people.
One magic ingredient here is smoked bacon. Fry the bacon with the vegetables until the bacon starts browning. Add some flour and stir through the mixture. This will bind the sauce.
Add a bottle (0.7 l) of wine - or the marinade - and bring to a simmer.
Pour the content over the chicken in the oven dish, making sure the chicken is covered. Add the herbs (parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves) if you did not marinate and season with pepper and a little pinch of salt.
Cover the oven dish and put into the pre-heated oven (180° Celsius). Once you see the liquid bubbling, turn the heat down to 110° Celsius. At a higher oven temperature, the cooking speed does not improve - the sauce boils at a little over 100° Celsius regardless of the higher temperature; but more liquid will likely evaporate. Make sure the chicken remains covered with the liquid.
Cooking time should be at least an hour and a half if you did not marinate. When the chicken meat comes of the bone easily, the dish is ready to be served.