Coq au Vin
Coq au vin is a hearty French stew of chicken braised in red wine with mushrooms and crisp pancetta.
Rich and brimming with flavor, coq au vin is a classic French stew of chicken braised in red wine with mushrooms and crispy pancetta. It’s the perfect cooking project to tackle on a chilly weekend when you’ve got a few hours to burn; naturally, anything that tastes this wonderful takes some time. As with most stews, it is even better the next day, and it freezes well, too.
Traditional recipes for coq au vin call for a whole cut-up chicken (a coq is an old rooster), but I prefer to use only bone-in chicken thighs only. The thighs remain tender and succulent when braised for a long time, whereas white meat tends to dry out. For the wine, a Burgundy or Pinot Noir is traditional but any light or medium bodied red wine, such as Merlot or Zinfandel, will also work. You don’t need to use an expensive bottle; just make sure it’s good enough to drink (no supermarket cooking wine!). Try this recipe with buttered egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or a good crusty bread — basically anything to soak up the full-flavored sauce.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 ounces diced pancetta (or bacon)
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 4 pounds), trimmed of excess skin (see note)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup Cognac
- 2-1/2 cups red wine, preferably Burgundy or Pinot Noir
- 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks on the bias
- 8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour