adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

French Immersion: Coq au Vin

In the spirit of embracing our move to France, I have been trying my hand at a few classic French dishes, like the Salmon en Papillote.  Last weekend I decided to make Coq au Vin for The Hub, Kate and Shawn.

tre magnifique!

Do you think it's beautiful?  Well you better, because it took me almost SIX HOURS to make it.  It was a labor of love that was really, really delicious.  The French sure know how to develop flavor but it's something that takes time and patience.  I'm not sure I will be making this again anytime soon, just because it was such a long process, but it was really fun and made me feel that much closer to my new life. Adam over at The Amateur Gourmet has put together a really fantastic step-by-step visual guide to creating this masterpiece so I'm not even going to try to reinvent the wheel.  I've outlined the quick and dirty version below, but if you are feeling ambitious enough to try this out and you have say, 5-6 hours to spare, please check out Adam's guide here.   I did do one thing differently:  At the suggestion of a dear friend of mine who is classically trained professional chef, I marinated all the chicken pieces in the red wine with some smashed garlic and aromatics (thyme and sage) for about 6 hours before starting.  He suggested only marinating the dark meat and leaving the breast meat out to create a nice color contrast.

purple chicken! ready for flour dredging

You start by cooking bacon in a Dutch Oven and then braising the floured chicken in the rendered fat to create a nice base on the bottom that will help build the flavor.

make sure to get a nice caramel color

Then you set the chicken aside and cook the onions and carrots in the pot with lots of butter, the red wine mixture you used to marinate the chicken, tomato paste, cognac and spices.

cooking the onions and carrots

You simmer it for awhile, then scoop out some of the braising liquid, which you'll use to make the garnish.  Add back in the bacon and chicken and put it in the oven for about 40ish minutes.  Make sure not to overcook the chicken, I think I did a little bit.

ready for the oven

While the chicken is cooking, you prepare the garnish using pearl onions, mushrooms and the braising liquid.

beautiful mushrooms - this was my favorite part

preparing the garnish

When everything is ready, arrange the chicken on a platter and pour all the good juices, carrots, bacon and onions from the Dutch Oven over the chicken.  Top with the garnish and freshly chopped parsley.


Coq au Vin is traditionally served over egg noodles, we but we decided to pair it with some creamy mashed redskin potatoes.  I also made a simple salad with mixed greens, slivered almonds, dried cranberries and a dijon vinaigrette.  Kate made some delicious French Onion Soup and our French meal was complete!

tastes a little bit like Thanksgiving

pretty table

Then I collapsed into my chair from the exhaustion of making this meal and stuffed my face. Bon Appétit!

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