Coq Au Vin

There are many versions of this classic French dish, most cooked in a full bodied red wine. However, the main ingredient is always the cockerel which has, hopefully, lived its life scratching around the farm and fields before entering the pot.  Few of us, unfortunately, have access to these full flavoured birds, but always use a good quality chicken.

Serves 8-10


2 tablespoons extra-virgon olive oil

225g (2 cups) chopped bacon

1 medium onion, chopped

2 x 2kg chickens cut into 8 pieces

5 tablespoons brandy

a few sprigs of fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley

2 bay leaves

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tablespoon tomato puree

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1 bottle full bodied red wine

2 tablespoons chopeed fresh flat leaf parsley, to garnish

For the glazed shallots and mushrooms:

15g butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

350g shallots

350g button mushrooms

For the beurre manie:

30g butter, softened

2 tablespoons plain flour


Oven 275F/140C/Gas 1 pre heated

1.Heat the oil in the pot, in this case a 29cm Le Creuset Oval Casserole, over a medium heat on the hob.  Add the bacon and onion and cook, stirring, until both are softened and then remove, draining well.

2.Fry the chicken in batches until all the pieces are evenly browned, then return them to the pot with the bacon and onion.  Remove the pot from the heat and add the brandy.  Carefully ignote standing well back until the flames subside, then return the pot to the heat.

3.Tie all the herbs in a bundle (or use pip pockets to make bouquet garni) and add to the pot with the garlic, tomato puree, lemon juice, sugar and red wine. Cover with the lid and cook in the oven for 2-2.5 hours until the chicken is very tender.

4.About 30 minutes before the chicken finishes cooking, melt the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and fry for 10-15 minutes until they are golden brown and soft; transfer to a plate. Add the mushrooms to the pan and toss so they are just cooked and coloured.

5.Blend the butter and flour together in a small bowl. Remove a few pieces of the cooked chicken to make room to stir in the beurre manie. Add this in small amounts, stirring after each addition so the sauce remains smooth.

6.When all the beurre manie has been incorporated, return the chicken together with the shallots and mushrooms.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle the top generously with parsley and serve.

Wine tip:

This dish is traditionally prepared with red Burgundy which makes and excellent accompaniment to the meal. Try one of the red wines form the Burgundy villages of Marsannay or Santenay. Or try a Pinot Noir from Oregon or New Zealand. We use Tivoli wines in Cheltenham and find their helpfulness and knowledge unrivalled.

Posted by ecrownshaw in Recipes,

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