Before I begin, a shout-out is warranted for the kitchen skills performed by my Sous-chef for this dish. “The Croc” did an amazing job when it came time to “Feed The Beast”.
If you ever saw the film “Donnie Brasco”, this is the dish that Lefty Ruggiero is making for Christmas dinner. Lefty says to Donnie “You think I cook like those gumbas in Brooklyn? All they know is manicotti, manicotti. A hundred years they are gonna be eating manicotti. You never ate Coq Au Vin?” Then he goes on to say, “Ohhh Donnie, wait till you taste this Coq Au Vin. Melt in your mouth. I call it communion. ” At that moment Lefty accidentally sets the pan on fire and a towel is thrown over it to put it out. This is merely one of many great scenes in the film. As a fan of the film and the true story behind it, I was compelled to make my version of this dish. Below you will find my recipe.
But what is Coq Au Vin? There are many variations but traditionally it is a chicken stew. The chicken is braised in red wine. Once this rustic dish was mainly found along the French countryside and was considered a peasants dish because the ingredients were relatively inexpensive and could be found locally. That has since changed. Coq Au Vin can now be found on the menus of many upscale restaurants. Just recently I had dined at a high end French restaurant where they had this dish on the menu at a price range close to twenty dollars.
I highly recommend prepping all your ingredients before you start actually cooking. The process of organizing your ingredients and everything else you will need is the French technique “Mise en place”. I follow this before I begin cooking any dish, especially one that is new to me.
As you review the ingredients, you may ask “Can I use boneless chicken or white meat?”. I suggest using chicken legs and thighs on the bone. The dark meat will remain juicy and is the traditional way of making Coq Au Vin. I am a firm believer in sticking to what works. The beauty of this dish is, it can be made entirely in one large pan, pot or Dutch oven. Plus one additional pan for the mushrooms. In my opinion, Coq Au Vin works great with mashed potatoes.
Enough talk. Let’s start cooking!
- 3 Chicken thighs
- 3 Chicken drumsticks
- 1 1/4 Cups Chicken stock
- 1 1/2 Cups Burgundy red wine
- 1/4 Cup Brandy
- 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 3/4 Cup diced bacon
- 6 Cloves of garlic diced
- 1 Onion diced
- 1 Cup sliced carrots about 1 inch thick
- 1 Cup frozen pearl onions
- 2 Cups of Cremini mushrooms thickly sliced
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. Chopped parsley
- 4 Thyme sprigs
- 2 Tsp. Salt
- 1 Tsp. Fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- In a large pan, pot or Dutch oven heat the olive oil. (Whichever you use, remember it needs to fit in your oven).
- Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Leaving the bacon grease in the pan, transfer the bacon to a dish until needed later.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the pan, skin side down.
- Sear the chicken until the skin is rendered down, browned and crisp. about five to eight minutes per side. Then remove and set aside with the bacon.
- Add the diced onions (Not the pearl onions), carrots, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent and browned. About five to six minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for one to two minutes
- Pour in the chicken stock, red wine and brandy. Stir them all together. Then add the bacon, chicken and any juice that had collected in the plate. Bring to a simmer.
- Cover the pan and place in the oven. Cook for twenty to thirty minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- While the chicken is in the oven, melt two tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the mushrooms and cook until they are tender and browned. Usually about ten minutes. Then remove from the heat and set aside.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and place the pan on the stove.
- Combine the remaining butter with the flour and add to the pan. Stirring thoroughly.
- Add the pearl onions and bring to a simmer.
- Cook for an additional ten minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the parsley.
- Serve immediately.