Cooking with Wine: Coq au Vin

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Coq Au Vin

Coq au vin is a classic French stew in which chicken is braised slowly in red Burgundy and a little brandy to yield a rich sauce filled with tender meat, crisp bacon, mushrooms and burnished pearl onions.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken legs and thighs
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste
  • 3 cups Burgundy wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 ounces lardons, pancetta or bacon, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 8 ounces white or brown mushrooms, halved if large, and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces peeled pearl onions
  • Pinch sugar
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley, more for serving

Method

  1. Season chicken with 2 1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a large bowl, combine chicken, wine, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, cook lardons over medium-low heat until fat has rendered, and lardons are golden and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer lardons to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving rendered fat in pot.
  3. Remove chicken from wine, reserving the marinade. Pat chicken pieces with paper towels until very dry. Heat lardon fat over medium heat until it’s just about to smoke. Working in batches if necessary, add chicken in a single layer and cook until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. (Add oil if the pot looks a little dry.) Transfer chicken to a plate as it browns.
  4. Add diced onion, carrot, half the mushrooms and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to pot. Cook until vegetables are lightly browned, about 8 minutes, stirring up any brown bits from the pot, and adjusting heat if necessary to prevent burning.
  5. Stir in garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, then stir in flour and cook for another minute. Remove from heat, push vegetables to one side of pot, pour brandy into empty side, and ignite with a match. Once the flame dies down, add reserved marinade, bring to a boil, and reduce halfway, about 12 minutes. Skim off any large pockets of foam that form on the surface.
  6. Add chicken, any accumulated juices and half the cooked lardons to the pot. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour, turning halfway through. Uncover pot and simmer for 15 minutes to thicken. Taste and add salt and pepper, if necessary.
  7. Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter and 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add pearl onions, a pinch of sugar and salt to taste. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes, shaking pan often to move onions around. Uncover, push onions to one side of pan, add remaining mushrooms, and raise heat to medium-high. Continue to cook until browned, stirring mushrooms frequently, and gently tossing onions occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove onions and mushrooms from pan.
  8. Add pearl onions, mushrooms and remaining half of the cooked lardons to the pot. Baste with wine sauce and sprinkle with parsley.

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