No fear – this classic Coq Au Vin recipe is not nearly as difficult as you might think! Wine-marinated chicken, onions, mushrooms, and carrots are slow simmered in a deliciously rich French red wine sauce, and will be the highlight of your week at the dinner table!
I’ve never fancied myself as an excellent chef. I know my roots, and I’m aware of my capabilities in the kitchen. I can mix a batch of scratch cupcakes with my eyes closed, but I also have a bad habit of burning caramel sauce and garlic.
Not together. But they both smell equally awful.
Since venturing into the blogging world, I’ve learned to appreciate the cookbooks I’ve gathered over the years as tools to help me grow in my imaginary culinary “career,” instead of just recipe resources. I recently found an old copy of Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking at a thrift store, and after picking it up and putting it back three times, I finally bought it.
Best $3-fitty I’ve spent in a while.
Classic Coq Au Vin for Two
So, why did I put it back? To be honest, I’ve never cared for most French food I’ve tried.
Let me give you an example. Back in college, my then-boyfriend surprised me on my 20th birthday by taking me to a local French restaurant, where I proceeded to spend 40 minutes trying to decide what sounded the most appealing on the menu.
It took me that long to settle, and while I can’t remember for the life of me what I picked, I remember hating it. I choked down 1/3 of whatever creamy, gooey mess it was, then filled out my appetite with dessert – an eclair, crème brûlée, and a slice of French apple tarte.
Not for nothin’, I’ve never had any problem with their sweets. Give me all the choux pastry.
Picking up Julia’s book with so many reservations reminded me of how tastes change every ten years, and my appreciation for French cuisine was overdue for an affirmation.
Flipping through it, I came across some recipes that turned my nose – pretty much anything involving stanky cheese, olives, and lamb. But the further I got into it, the more I realized how stupid I had been.
Obviously, that restaurant just had a crappy menu, because French food is fantastic.
And what’s more, I’ve eaten plenty of it in the last 10+ years.
For my first Sunday Supper post of 2017, the theme is Dinner for Two – ironically enough, the same direction this blog is going (…but more about that later.)
Well…Julia’s recipe for classic Coq Au Vin feeds 4-6 people.
While the dish supposedly tastes even better the second day, sometimes leftovers aren’t something The Hubs and I want or need, especially when it comes to a rich meal like this one.
Really. It’s cooked in bacon fat and butter. And the mashed potatoes have almost an entire stick of browned butter in them. I’m all for hearty comfort food, but once or twice a week is enough when we’re both struggling to lose weight and get healthier.
This Coq Au Vin for Two is a perfect celebratory meal – think anniversaries, major life milestones (new house? pregnancy? hefty tax refund?!) or that pesky Valentine’s Day that’s creeping up way too fast.
Some renditions of this recipe have you cooking the onions and mushrooms separately from the chicken. That’s all well and good, but I’m more fond of one-pan meals, and while I’ve never had Coq Au Vin prepared that way, I can promise you that this method is absolutely delicious.
Once everything is in the skillet and it’s covered up and simmering away, you’ll get busy prepping potatoes or cleaning up and forget all about it…until the smell hits you.
Then, taking that cover off and seeing the perfectly thickened and fragrant red wine sauce, the mushrooms and pearl onions engorged with it; the reddish-brown chicken skin, puffing up from the simmer underneath…
It’s almost enough to make you want to apply to culinary school.
I impressed myself with this one, folks, and I promise that you will, too.
I could totally move to France, now.
Classic Coq Au Vin for Two
Coq Au Vin
- 1 ½ pounds chicken pieces skin-on and bone-in (I used 3 thighs and 2 legs)
- 1 ½ cups dry red wine Merlot or Cabernet
- ½ cup unsalted chicken stock
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 slices thick-cut bacon cut into 1/2-inch lardons
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1 large shallot peeled and diced
- 3 carrots peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup pearl onions peeled
- 8 ounces baby portobello mushrooms halved
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup whiskey or brandy
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs for more for garnish
- 1 bay leaf
Herb & Garlic Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
- 1 pound russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon minced herbs thyme, rosemary, oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup whole milk or cream
Coq Au Vin
- Place chicken in a plastic zipper bag; add wine and stock, and massage to combine. Seal and refrigerate for 1-8 hours.
- When ready to cook, melt the butter over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Fry the bacon until crispy. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
- While the bacon is cooking, remove the chicken from the wine marinade and pat dry; reserve the wine. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.
- When the skillet is empty, sear the chicken in the remaining bacon grease for 2-3 minutes per side until browned. Transfer the cooked chicken to a separate plate and set aside.
- Stir the shallot and carrots into the bacon grease and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the pearl onions, mushrooms, and garlic; saute for 4-5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are browned and the kitchen is fragrant.
- Stir in the flour and tomato paste and cook for about a minute, stirring occasionally until completely combined. Splash in the whiskey and carefully ignite it with a kitchen lighter. When the flames dissipate, stir for about a minute, then return the chicken and cooked bacon back to the skillet.
- Pour in the reserved red wine/stock, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 45-50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs, if desired, and serve immediately over mashed potatoes.
Herb & Garlic Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes
- Place the cubed potatoes in a sauce pot. Fill pot with enough water to cover the potatoes by 1½ inches. Salt the water, then place on high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes and return them to the pot, covering with a lid.
- In a small saute pan, heat butter on medium-low heat. Melt butter and continue cooking until is starts to foam. The butter will then start to brown and develop a nutty aroma; as soon as it is a rich brown, remove from heat and swirl in the herbs and garlic. Let sizzle for 30 seconds, then pour ¾ of the butter over the boiled potatoes.
- Add the salt, pepper, and milk and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, adding more seasoning if desired.
- Spoon the mashed potatoes into a serving dish and drizzle remaining butter over the top.
Potatoes adapted from The Kitchen McCabe
If you’re not into wine, here are plenty more Dinner for Two options to the table for you!
- Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas by Pies and Plots
- Chicken Marsala by A Mind “Full” Mom
- Classic Coq Au Vin for Two by The Crumby Cupcake
- Creamy Parmesan Skillet Eggs by The Texan New Yorker
- Date Night Chicken Teriyaki Stir-Fry by Gourmet Every Day
- Orange Chicken by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Spicy Salsa Chicken by Simple and Savory
- Chicken and Spinach Pasta with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce by Pook’s Pantry
- One Pan Shrimp and Asparagus Linguini by Jersey Girl Cooks
- Scallop Pasta with Garlic and White Wine by Caroline’s Cooking
- Skillet Rigatoni alla Vodka for Two by Eat, Drink and be Tracy
- Porchetta by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
- Roast Pork Loin with Plum Sauce by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Red Meat Recipes
- Filet Mignon with Shiitake Mushrooms by Cooking Chat
- French Onion Filet Mignon by The Chef Next Door
- Honey Lime Steak Kebabs by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Mini Mushroom Meatloaf by Cricket’s Confections
- Mushroom Topped Pepper Steak for Two by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pan Seared Sirloin Steak Dinner for Two by Life Tastes Good
- Pan-Seared Nutella Skirt Steak by Brunch-n-Bites
- Petit Filet with Red Wine Pan Sauce & Garlic Mash by Authentically Candace
- Rack of Lamb with Strawberry Mint Glaze by Sunday Supper Movement
- Steak Au Poivre by Renee’s Kitchen Adventures
- Baked Salmon with Ginger Marinade by Feeding Big
- Crab Caesar Salad by What Smells So Good?
- Crab Imperial by Monica’s Table
- Creamy Shrimp & Sausage Skillet by Crazed Mom
- Grilled Swordfish with Husk Cherry Salsa by From the Bookshelf
- Peppadew Trout en Croûte by Food Lust People Love
- Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Cream Sauce by Soulfully Made
- Surf and Turf for Two by The Freshman Cook
- Colorful Matchstick Salad with Mint Vinaigrette by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Curried Split Peas by Wholistic Woman
- Edamame Waldorf Salad by Ninja Baker
- Saffron and Leek Risotto – Served 2 Ways by Sprinkles and Sprouts
I never made coq au Vin but your photos make me want to lick the screen!
Is there such a thing as “not being into wine”? LOL…..Love Julia’s cookbook and glad that you found it and rediscovered French cooking.
Jersey Girl Cooks says
There is always something good on a dessert menu…haha. This looks like such a delicious meal!
Sarah Reid, CNP (@jo_jo_ba) says
The one and only time I had coq au vin it was on a date… and delicious! Glad to see it scaled back.
Glad to find you ! Great photo ! I wish you have a nice day !
This is on my bucket list too, Lori. And yes, one of the reasons I haven t made it is how much wine is called for! I should just go buy a few of Gallo s bottle and drink half of it while making this dish. Your coq au vin looks beyond delicious.
Can this be made without the Whiskey/ Brandy or is there a good substitute?
It sure can be! Just add in an extra 1/4 cup of wine instead. It’s not necessary, it just adds another layer of flavor. Enjoy!