Coq au vin (literally rooster with wine) is one of the most famous dishes of France. And with all traditional and popular dishes, there are many recipes available, good and bad, fast and extensive. This is my version, which I love to cook and eat on cold winter nights. I like to serve my coq au vin with rice, this is not very traditional, but works perfect to absorb all the delicious juices. You can also serve it with bread, which is more traditional. Other less traditional things that I do are: using only legs or thighs, not marinating the chicken, not binding the sauce and adding all the accompaniments (shallots, bacon, mushrooms) already at the beginning of the stewing time.
Some people like to remove the skin from the chicken, but I just leave it on as it protects the meat and gives extra flavour. If you don’t like skin, remove it before browning the chicken and fry it in a small pan with a little coconut oil. With a sprinkling of salt this is a delicious appetizer. Or remove it after cooking and give it to someone who does like skin. I think throwing it away is a waste.
Depending on the wine you use the chicken will be more deep red or more purple, but it should be a decent wine and be quite robust for a good result. Burgundy is the traditional choice, but a Shiraz, Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon is also nice.
Coq au vin (2 generous servings)
2 chicken legs or 4 chicken thighs (with bone)
200 g bacon, in lardons
200 g small shallots, peeled but left whole
150 g small mushrooms, whole (or quarter larger muhsrooms)
1 bay leave, few sprigs of thyme
Salt and pepper
1/2 bottle of wine
Heat a Dutch oven or other heavy based pan with lid suitable for stewing.
Fry the bacon until the fat is rendered out and the bacon is brown and crisp. Take out of the pan and set aside.
Make sure the pan is nice and hot again and add the chicken. Brown on all sides. Add the shallots and mushrooms and fry for a few more minutes. Add the bacon back in, together with the bay leave, thyme and some pepper (no salt, the bacon is salty). Add the wine, cover the pan and stew for about 1 hour. Chicken thighs are smaller so will be ready earlier, legs will take a little longer. Check for seasoning and serve immediately.
Alternatively you can leave out the mushrooms at the beginning and fry them in a separate pan just before serving.