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Coq au Vin Chicken in Red Wine

Coq au vin is a classic French dish, chicken braised in red wine with bacon & mushrooms, my version uses legs & is the perfect size for two.

The chicken legs are marinated in a reduced wine and herb mixture which turns the flavour all the way up to 11, you’ll love this delicious hearty classic!

Overhead coq au vin with carrots, mushrooms bacon and shallots served with mashed potato.

Chicken Braised in Red Wine

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

However, when simple rustic peasant dishes like this, Daube of Beef or Beef Bourguignon and of course the classic coq au vin, it does seem a little churlish.

Like almost all of my recipes, it is scaled back to feed just two people. But it loses none of its character and most importantly flavour.

The chicken legs are marinated in reduced red wine and herbs before being seared and then braised until falling off the bone tender.

The coq au vin sauce is thickened with a traditional mix of flour and butter, then finished with bacon, shallots and mushrooms.

If you want something a little lighter you should check out my coq au vin blanc recipe. If a wine sauce is not your thing, check out my Basque chicken, Normandy chicken and chicken forestière recipes.

Close up coq au vin, chicken legs braised in red wine with vegetables and bacon.

Frequently Asked Questions

What wine should I use to make coq au vin?

The red wine for this recipe wants to be something big and bold.

A Burgundy is traditional and is superb, if often a bit pricey, so go for something like a pinot noir or merlot.

Do I have to reduce the wine before marinating the chicken?

No there are many recipes that don’t do this, I picked it up from a Raymond Blanc article. If it’s good enough for him then I reckon it’s good enough for me!

Can I make coq au vin in advance?

Yes, it will sit in the fridge for a couple of days and like most stews, it is even better on day two!

Can I not use cornflour to thicken the sauce?

If you wish!

However, the combination of butter and flour is called beurre manie in French and it is a classic way to both enrich and thicken a stew.

Do I have to use chicken legs?

No, traditionally the whole bird is used to make coq au vin, however, this is a scaled back dish for two people.

As a result, I choose to use the chicken legs, they are both cheaper and taste “better” than the breast in this recipe.

French coq au vin with carrots, mushrooms bacon and shallots served with mashed potato.

Serving Suggestions

As far as I am concerned the very best thing to serve with coq au vin is a rich mash.

It is pictured here with mashed potato, but celeriac mash is awesome too. I’ve even served this with a cheesy polenta “porridge” and it works beautifully!

If you wanted some greens then throwing some tenderstem broccoli in the oven to roast whilst the chicken is finishing would be great.

Bread is another must-have option with coq au vin, I’d usually use some French baguette to mop up that sauce.

But garlic bread is also an option according to my wife… apparently, garlic bread is always an option!

Overhead close up coq au vin, chicken legs braised in red wine with vegetables and bacon.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • Oven.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan.
  • 24cm or 10″ Dutch oven or oven-proof pan with a lid.
  • 30cm or 12″ nonstick frying pan.
  • Tupperware box or strong bag to marinate the chicken.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Stirring, slotted and serving spoons.
  • Whisk.
  • Mixing bowl and a fork for mashing the beurre manie.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring jug, cups and spoons.
Coq au vin or chicken braised in red wine with carrots, shallots, mushrooms and bacon.
Yield: 2 Servings

Classic Coq au Vin Recipe Chicken Legs Braised in Red Wine

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Marinade Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 40 minutes

It's hard to look beyond classic recipes when you want a bit of comfort food and coq au vin is a firm favourite with me. Chicken legs braised in red wine is a French masterclass in hearty bold cooking.

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken Legs
  • 1 Bottle (750ml) Red Wine
  • 150g (1 Cup) Carrots
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • ½ Tsp Black Peppercorns
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Head of Garlic
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 175ml (¾ Cup) Chicken Stock
  • 30g (2 Tbsp) Softened Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Plain Flour
  • 100g (4oz) Bacon Lardons
  • 8-10 Shallots
  • 150g (1½-2 Cups) Small Chestnut Mushrooms

Instructions

  1. Pour the wine into a 20cm or 8" saucepan and bring it to a boil and then cook until it is reduced by half, this will take around 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
  2. Cut the carrots into rings at a 45° angle.
  3. Add the chicken legs to a bag or Tupperware box and add the carrots, thyme, black pepper and bay leaves then pour over the wine and allow the chicken to marinate, 4 hours minimum but up to 12 hours.
  4. Pour the chicken into a colander and allow it to sit for 15 minutes to allow the wine to drip through and dry the chicken a little. Then transfer the wine to a bowl, the carrots, thyme and bay to another bowl and dry the chicken thoroughly with kicthen paper.
  5. Cut the garlic in half across the garlic cloves.
  6. Season the chicken with the salt.
  7. Heat a 24cm or 10" casserole or Dutch oven over a high heat and when it is hot add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and brown the chicken on all sides, then remove and set aside.
  8. Add the carrots, thyme and bay from the marinade to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Place the head of garlic cut side down in the pan and pour over the red wine and chicken stock, then bring the liquid to a boil.
  10. Add the chicken legs, drop on the lid and transfer to the oven and cook at 150°C or 300°F for 2 hours.
  11. Peel the shallots.
  12. Clean the mushrooms.
  13. Around 10-15 minutes before the chicken has been cooking for 2 hours heat a 30cm or 12" nonstick frying over a medium-high heat and add the remaining tablespoon olive oil.
  14. Fry the bacon in the pan and cook it for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly.
  15. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes moving constantly until they begin to brown.
  16. Then throw in the mushrooms and cook for another 4-5 minutes tossing constantly, then set aside the pan.
  17. Place the butter in a bowl and mash it together with the flour.
  18. Remove the chicken from the oven and fish out the chicken legs with a slotted spoon and whisk in the flour and butter mix, until it is completely combined.
  19. Add the mushrooms, bacon and shallots, then return the chicken back to the pan and slide it back into the oven for a final 15-20 minutes, this time without a lid.

Notes

The garlic cloves will fall out of the papers whilst you are serving this dish, you can either mash them or leave them whole, but be sure to remove the papery shell before serving.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1262Total Fat: 61gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 307mgSodium: 1905mgCarbohydrates: 64gFiber: 10gSugar: 24gProtein: 71g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

Wendy

Sunday 28th of January 2024

I’m planning on making this dish and have made the Raymond Blanc recipe but a long time ago. Your recipe looks really good, however what do I do with the head of garlic after it’s all cooked, take it out and dispose of it with the herbs or squeeze the pulp out and mix it in?

Brian Jones

Monday 5th of February 2024

Hi Wendy...

The garlic will usually fall from the papery shell when cooking and I usually leave them whole but you can mash them too, the long slow cooking time leaves them beautifully mellow.

I've added a note to the recipe to hopefully make that a little clearer :)

Enjoy

Brian

antony

Friday 5th of January 2024

i have make a lot of coq au vin before but i have to say this recipe tasted amazing. the reduction of the wine and soaking make the main difference for me. thank you and happy new year

Brian Jones

Sunday 21st of January 2024

Thanks for taking the time to write to me, so glad you enjoyed your dinner :)

Alexandra Shunk

Wednesday 11th of July 2018

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

Brian Jones

Thursday 12th of July 2018

Thanks Alexandra!

Gabby | The Tolerant Table

Wednesday 11th of July 2018

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!

Brian Jones

Wednesday 11th of July 2018

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.

Katie Crenshaw | A Fork's Tale

Wednesday 11th of July 2018

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

Brian Jones

Wednesday 11th of July 2018

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

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