Coq au vin

Coq au vin

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
1 chicken, about 1.3 kg
1/2 tablespoon sunflower oil
12 button onions
100 g piece bacon
12 button mushrooms
1 garlic clove
handful parsley
20g unsalted butter
300ml red wine
300ml Chicken and veal stock
1/2 celery stick, tied together with 1 bay leaf, 1 thyme sprig and 1 parsley sprig
2 teaspoons butter, softened and mixed with 2 teaspoons flour, (beurre manie, see note below)
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Joint the chicken into 8 pieces. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over a gentle heat, season the chicken lightly and place it skin side down in the pan in a single layer, to render the fat and brown the skin. This can take up to 10 minutes and may need to be done in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Once the skin is brown and crisp, remove the chicken pieces.
  2. To peel the onions, bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Plunge the onions into the boiling water for 1 minute, then remove them to a bowl of cold water. Once cool, drain the onions, trim off the hairy root end and peel them, leaving them as natural looking as possible.
  3. Derind the bacon and cut into lardons. (If preferred, these can be plunged into boiling water for 30 seconds to remove excess salt.) Wipe over the mushrooms and trim if necessary.
  4. Once the chicken is browned, pour off the excess fat and wipe out the sauté pan (or deglaze with a splash of water if you feel the pan is scorched). Add half the butter and brown the lardons, then remove to a plate and put the onions into the pan. Brown the onions, then remove to the plate. Add the remaining butter to the pan, then add the mushrooms and brown evenly. Peel and crush the garlic.
  5. Pour off the excess fat from the pan, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, bring to a simmer and reduce by one-third, then add the stock. Bring back to a simmer and add the bouquet garni, lardons, onions, mushrooms and the chicken, skin side up.
  6. Cover and simmer gently for 30–40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. To check, remove the pieces to a plate and cut down to the bone on the non-skin side of the chicken; the juices should run clear.
  7. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 120°C. Finely chop enough parsley leaves to give you 1–2 tablespoons.
  8. Once the chicken is cooked, remove to a board and trim off the knuckles and any exposed bones, then transfer to a serving dish and keep warm in the low oven.
  9. Strain the sauce and return it to the sauté pan. Add the lardons, onions and mushrooms to the chicken and keep warm. Discard the bouquet garni. Taste the sauce and reduce if necessary until it has a good concentration of flavour, checking the consistency; it should be lightly syrupy. If not, whisk in beurre manié, ½ teaspoon at a time, to thicken it. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the chopped parsley to serve.

A note on marinating…

  • You can marinate the chicken in the red wine with the bouquet garni for a few hours or even overnight, after which the red wine from the marinade can still be used to make the sauce. This process does make it a little more difficult to render the fat and brown the skin, but it gives the chicken more flavour.

Beurre manié

  • Beurre manié is equal quantities of softened butter and flour mixed together to form a smooth paste (it is more often than not butter, but any fat could potentially be used). You can then thicken a sauce by whisking a little of this, ½ teaspoon at a time, into the sauce and bringing it to a simmer. As the butter in the beurre manié melts it releases the flour into the sauce, which in turn thickens it.
Leiths School of food and wine
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