Stove Top Coq Au Vin or Chicken in Red Wine

Coq Au Vin is a quintessentially French farmhouse recipe, chicken cooked in red wine with butter, streaky bacon and mushrooms. What is not to love?

Chicken Legs cooked in red wine to create a coq au vin served on mashed potato swerved on a white plate

Coq Au Vin For Two.

It does seem incredibly fashionable to scoff at the superior standing of French food in culinary circles.

However, when simple rustic peasant dishes like this, Daube of Beef or Beef Bourguignon have lasted the course of time you can see where it comes from.

My version of this French classic uses chicken legs rather than the whole bird. This is because it makes it work better as a meal for two!

But you could increase the size and use chicken pieces from a whole chicken. It makes a great dinner party dish.

Whilst I love my crockpot I often find this chicken needs just a little bit more care and attention and I always make this on the stove top.

This recipe is comfort food heaven if you ask me, bacon, mushrooms and butter.

All of these wondrous ingredients are wrapped up in a silky wine based sauce.

Oh yeah, and mashed potato!

Chicken Legs cooked in red wine to create a coq au vin served on mashed potato swerved on a white plate

How to Thicken Sauces.

There are countless ways to thicken sauces.

My usual and preferred method is a reduction, that is simply adding heat and boiling off water.

It is the method that I use in lots of my recipes, everything from my Beef Vindaloo to the gravy for my whole roast duck.

This has the effect of intensifying the flavour.

Personally speaking, I think this intensifies the flavour too much for this recipe. Let’s face it you want to taste chicken in a chicken recipe!

You also need to be careful with salt on a heavy reduction because that all stays in the pan as the water is driven off.

As a result, I opt for the old fashioned beurre manié technique. This is simply making a dough from butter and flour and whisking it into a simmering sauce.

You need to cook it long enough to get rid of the floury flavour, but that should take just 5-10 minutes.

Chicken Legs cooked in red wine to create a coq au vin served on mashed potato swerved on a white plate

What Wine To Use.

Traditionally this recipe is made with a Burgundy. However, any fairly robust plonk works well so something like a pinot noir or merlot works wonderfully.

Hell, I have even made this dish with my homebrew and a rooster from our brood… And it tasted marvellous!

The most important thing when choosing wine for cooking this recipe is the quaff test.

Seriously if you are unwilling to drink it then don’t put it in your food! And whatever you do do not use cooking wine, friends do not let friends cook with that hideous stuff!

Like most of my recipes, this delightful chicken stew is cooked with two people in mind.

Most stew or casserole recipes are a challenge to reduce in size because cooking for two is often not just a case of just dividing a recipe for four in half.

Chicken Legs cooked in red wine to create a coq au vin served on mashed potato swerved on a white plate
Coq Au Vin

Coq Au Vin

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Marinade Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 40 minutes

It's hard to look beyond classic recipes when you want a bit of comfort food and Coq Au Vin is, as far as I am concerned, the finest of French foodie comfort blankets!


  • 2 Chicken Legs
  • 375 ml Red wine
  • 50 ml Cognac
  • 200 g Onion
  • 12 Cloves Garlic
  • 100 g Smoked Streaky Bacon
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Tsp Dried Thyme
  • 100 ml Chicken Stock
  • 25 g Butter
  • 125 g Button Mushrooms
  • 25 g Softened Butter
  • 25 g Plain Flour
  • Salt To taste
  • Pepper To taste

For the Mashed Potato:

  • 500 g Potato
  • 100 g Butter
  • Salt, To taste


  1. Roughly chop half of the onion and bruise half of the garlic cloves, add to a bowl and pour over the wine.
  2. Separate the chicken legs into thighs and drumsticks and add the chicken to the this mix and leave to sit for at least 4 hours.
  3. Cut the bacon into large strips around 5mm in profile and 15mm long.
  4. Heat a pan over a medium heat and add in the bacon and cook until golden, this should take about 8-10 minutes.
  5. When it is golden brown remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  6. Peel and slice the remaining onion into wedges.
  7. Peel the remaining garlic.
  8. Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat it dry.
  9. Discard the garlic and onion and reserve the wine for the sauce.
  10. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown over a medium heat in the residual fat.
  11. When your chicken is browned and set aside add in the onion wedges and garlic cloves to the pan and allow to brown for 5-6 minutes.
  12. Add in the cognac to the pan scraping the bottom to ensure you get all of the beat residues off the base.
  13. Strain the wine we marinaded the chicken into the pan and bring to a simmer.
  14. Add in the bay leaves, thyme and then tightly pack in the chicken drumsticks, thighs and bacon.
  15. Pour over the chicken stock and allow to simmer over a very low heat with the lid on for 60 minutes.
  16. When there is around 30 minutes cooking time left on the chicken peel and cut the potatoes and boil for 25 minutes in generously salted water.
  17. When cooked remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and allow to rest for 10 minutes whilst we finish the sauce and fry the mushrooms.
  18. Add the 25g of butter to a frying pan and when foaming add in the button mushrooms.
  19. Season them with salt and pepper and fry until golden.
  20. Heat a large flat frying pan over a fierce heat and strain the sauce into the frying pan boiling rapidly to reduce to an inky dark sauce.
  21. Your potatoes should also be ready to mash, I personally prefer a potato ricer, but you can mash. Then mix in the butter!
  22. Finally, make a Beurre manié by mixing together the 25g of softened butter and 25g of plain flour to form a 'dough' and whisk in to the sauce to thicken in the traditional French way.
  23. Return the chicken and mushrooms to the sauce to coat and serve hot.


Make sure your bacon is good and fatty as this provides the cooking oil for the dish. You can use a splash of olive oil if you feel you need more.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 1837 Total Fat: 103g Saturated Fat: 51g Trans Fat: 3g Unsaturated Fat: 44g Cholesterol: 540mg Sodium: 2272mg Carbohydrates: 91g Fiber: 10g Sugar: 11g Protein: 93g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

24 thoughts on this Recipe:

  1. I love how rich this sauce sounds! I also agree that bacon does make everything better!! I would love to try this soon! Yummmyyyy!

  2. I’m not quite sure how I’ve come to spend so many years in the kitchen without once making this. I mean really, it’s clearly something one should do because this looks absolutely incredible! I was never much of a meat fan until I learned to cook a really slow cooked meat dish and that was it for me. They’re my faves now. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Certainly in the UK it became sullied by nasty packet sauces in the late 70’s and 80’s… Back in the day where everyone decided cooking was not important and neither was flaovur 😉 For some at least the tide is turning and classics like these are making a comeback.

  3. WOW! This looks OUTRAGEOUS! Butter… wine… bacon…chicken… yes please. Talk about a delicious flavor combination. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

    • Lol, I reckon the name should be changed to Butter… wine… bacon… chicken… it would sell out on every menu every day 😀

  4. I have to agree with you Brian, I often prefer the humble peasant dishes over the fancy ones too. They are usually so much more comforting and satisfying ? This looks fab!

  5. I’ve had this on my mind with Bastille day coming up, and yours looks wonderful. I agree I sometimes feel French food gets too much hype, but then there are the more rustic dishes like these that are so delicious.

  6. My family loves chicken but I feel like I keep making the same recipes. I’m looking forward to trying this one, looks delicious.

  7. One day… one day I will be brave enough to try making this. I know you say it’s a straightforward dish, but being one of “the classics”, I’m a bit intimidated to try! I’m also not one to cook meat 95% of the time in my home, so there’s that too…

    • You really should give it a go, there are no complicated cooking techniques involved at all and the only reason you need to watch it is because modern chickens can over cook very easily… I have seen your website and if you can manage the cakes you cook then you can do this with your eyes closed and a glass of wine in one hand 😉

  8. My word Brian, this looks (and sounds) amazing. I’ve always wanted to try making this – it just looks so savory 🙂 And I’m with you on the mashed potatoes and bacon — heavenly!

  9. This looks absolutely fantastic. I’ve never had this in restaurant or otherwise but this looks so amazing I’m going to have to spend a Saturday on it for sure.

    • You are definitely in for a treat a really wonderfully hearty dish that you can’t really go wrong with so long as you don’t over cook the chuck 🙂

  10. I must say, this looks a thousand times better that the one I was served at a friend’s house in France.
    I was served a drumstick that was so rubbery you could bounce it off the walls. With the best will in the world, I could not get one smidgin of meat off that drumstick. The sauce looked and tasted like wine heated up with a bay leaf. No thickening was used either.
    The best bit was that the sister of said friend was a vegetarian and was offered the ‘sauce’ from the coq with mashed potatoes.

    • Booo not so good, it is not a dish to set aside and leave for a whole day it requires a little bit of TLC, not a lot but definitely a dish made better for it… The sauce needs a heavy reduction whilst the bird is resting and I love the ‘beurre manie’ methid of thickening, it uses butter and I love butter 😉 CHicken is so easy to over cook which is why the leg parts and breast parts get a different cooking length on this recipe, not something I do if I am cooking it old school with one of our roosters though, but for a commercially reared bird it is pretty essential I think.

      I see the sauce thing all the time which is a crying shame 🙁

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