Coq au Vin - no bacon but lots of wine


Coq au Vin - chicken stew

There is an obvious van joke in there! But I will let it go although I see them a lot on the M4.

Instead I will tell you about my friend who mentioned she'd just been to Marseille on a work trip. I told her (I'm a bit excited about my French food week), that Marseille is where Bouillabaisse is from!!! My friend who is not very much into food or cooking asked "Who's Bouillabaisse?"

So there, that's French cuisine neatly back in it's corner.

Anyway I am loving my French week, and I love Bouillabaisse. Another classic French recipe that I have wanted to try for a long time and therefore added on my French meal plan is Coq au Vin. Anything with half a bottle of red wine in it can't be bad.

Coq au Vin - Chicken in red wine

It's surprisingly easy and fuss free to make. Unless you use a whole unplucked cockerel I suppose. Luckily Morrisons didn't have any of those, so I opted for some organic drumsticks and thighs. It fills the house with a beautiful red winey and meaty smell. And of course tastes fantastic. I made it the previous evening and let it sit in the fridge overnight and it was pretty awesome when I heated it for dinner the next day. Or you could marinade the chicken pieces in wine overnight. You don't have to do either, but like the wine it mainly consists of it improves with time.

I substituted the bacon with smoked turkey rashers, because we don't really eat pork. Be sure not to fry them too long or they will become really dry and hard and really quite nasty. How do I know this? Call it my infallible cookery instinct.

Husband thought all the extra bits were unnecessary frou-frou (button onions, button mushrooms and maybe particularly the weird hard pieces of turkey bacon) but approved of the chicken.

Coq au Vin red wine chicken stew

Coq au Vin recipe (serves 2)

75g turkey bacon
1 yellow onion
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
2 garlic cloves
12 button onions
100g button mushrooms
500g of chicken pieces with bones in
1 tbsp of plain flour
2 tbsp cognac
1/2 bottle of French red wine
1 cup of chicken stock
a few sprigs of thyme
2 bay  leaves

Chop the turkey rashers. Heat some oil in a large pan or Dutch oven on medium heat. Fry the turkey rashers quickly. Remove to a plate.

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Add to the pan and fry until nicely browned. Remove to a plate.

Turn the heat down. Chop the onion, carrot, celery and peel the button onions, add to the Dutch oven and fry on low heat until softened, Mince the garlic and add to pan. Continue frying for a few minutes.

Fry the mushrooms in a separate pan with some salt and pepper until brown.

Add chicken and turkey back to the dutch oven. Add the flour and cook for a minute. Add the mushrooms and cognac scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the wine, stock and herbs. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the size of your chicken pieces. You want them to be melt in the mouth soft but you don't want them to fall apart in the pan.

Once your chicken is done you are likely to be left with a little bit too much liquid. To reduce, remove your chicken pieces onto a plate. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the sauce has reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon. Return the chicken to the pot and make sure it's hot through. Check and adjust seasoning.

Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with roast, boiled or mashed potatoes or plain rice.

Coq au Vin

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  1. This looks delicious! Do you think I could use regular bacon instead of the turkey?

    1. Yes, definitely. The original recipe calls for bacon. We don't eat pork, so that's why I substituted.

  2. This was a great looking recipe but was the most printer hostile thing I have ever tried to keep in a recipe file. This is not transferable :(

    1. Sorry to hear. Not sure if blogger has a better print function. Will look into it. Copy pasting (just the recipe part) worked for me, but you're right, if you try to print, is not the best :( Thanks for reading anyway!

  3. We don't do pork and I've been looking for a substitute - thank you for that. The taste came out fine but the bits of turkey bacon in the sauce are not inspiring. This problem continues to seek a solution. Incidentally, I used small shitake mushrooms which did just fine. Also, I couldn't find pearl onions so I used small shallots - came out well.
    Just one comment - I think your cooking times are too long. As I have read elsewhere, this dish was originally designed to deal with tough old roosters - hence "coq". I left my large bone in skin on thigh and three legs in for 55 minutes - the chicken was on the dry side. If it's regular chicken I would suggest 30 - 40 minutes depending on size. You can always use a thermometer if you are worried about under cooking, and taking the chicken out and boiling down the sauce worked well.