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Coq au Vin (Chicken in Red Wine Sauce) picture

Coq au Vin (Chicken in Red Wine Sauce)

Coq au vin is a classic French dish that will never lose its appeal. As in most recipes, the wine and cognac here are added for flavor, not alcohol content, so be sure to use varieties that you enjoy drinking.

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  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 ounces lean bacon, cut width-wise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
  • 1/4 cup cognac
  • 1 bottle young full-bodied red wine, such as Chianti or Beaujolais
  • 2 cups low-sodium beef stock
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • a few sprigs of parsley (optional)
  • Mushroom garnish (optional):
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or half butter and half canola oil)
  • 8 ounces fresh button mushrooms, brushed clean and quartered
  • Onion garnish (optional):
  • 3 tablespoons butter (or half butter and half canola oil)
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into 8 or 10 segments

Serves 4 to 6 as a main

Note:  Coq au vin can be made entirely in advance.  After step 13, let the stew cool and then cover and refrigerate it (right in the pot, if you like.)  It will keep for 2 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.  Reheat it gently on the stove top prior to serving.

  1. Heat the canola oil in a large casserole or saucepan over medium heat.  When hot, add the bacon and cook until it is lightly browned.  Remove the bacon from the pan and reserve.
  2. Pat the chicken pieces dry and season well with salt and pepper. Place the chicken pieces in the hot fat and brown for 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  3. Return the bacon to the pot. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for about 10 minutes, turning the chicken once.
  4. Uncover the pot and turn off the heat. Add the cognac from a measuring cup (not from the bottle.) Carefully ignite the cognac with a lighted match to burn off the alcohol.
  5. Once the flames have subsided, add the wine and just enough beef stock to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, thyme and bay leaf.
  6. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then cover the pot and continue simmering for about 30 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, cook the mushrooms and onions, if using.
  8. For the mushrooms, Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and/or oil. When the butter foam has begun to subside, add the mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they have browned lightly.  Remove from heat and add salt and pepper as desired; set aside.
  9. For the onions, heat the butter and/or oil together in a small skillet over medium heat. When the mixture is bubbling, add the onions and turn down the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown and have begun to caramelize, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  10. Once the chicken has simmered for 30 minutes, use tongs to remove the chicken pieces to a baking dish.
  11. Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a boil.  Boil, uncovered, until the sauce is reduced to about 2 1/4 cups.
  12. Using a fork, combine the flour and soft butter to form a paste. Remove the sauce from the heat and beat the paste into the hot sauce with a whisk. Bring the sauce back to a simmer and cook, stirring, 2 minutes more until slightly thickened.
  13. Return the chicken to the pot and add the cooked mushrooms and onions.
  14. Stir well and cook just until everything is hot through.  Serve immediately with a sprig of parsley on top, if you like.

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