This is Julia Child's recipe for her famous Coq Au Vin (Casserole of
Chicken in Red Wine). Most of Julia's cookbooks included this recipe. In every version in Julia's cookbooks,
she slightly updates the recipe. I have not changed the recipe, but have slightly updated the wording for easier understanding.
Coq au Vin (literally "rooster in
red wine") is probably the most famous of all French chicken dishes, and
certainly one of the most delicious, with its rich red wine sauce, its tender
onions and mushroom garniture, and its browned pieces of chicken with their
wonderful flavor. Ideal for a party because you may prepare it completely a day
or more before serving. In fact, Coq au Vin seems to be even better when done
ahead so all its elements have time to steep together.
Coq Au Vin is a Burgundian dish, and is considered a French comfort
food. The traditional recipe for Coq au Vin did not include chicken, but rather
a "Coq," which is a rooster. A lot of recipes originally called for old barnyard fowl, roosters, capon (a de-sexed
rooster), and old laying hens. Coq au Vin was originally considered peasant
food, and the farmers would make do with what they had on hand.
The red wine in the recipe was used not to mask flavor, but to
allow the acids to help break down the old meat of the rooster True coq Au Vin
was actually finished with the blood of the rooster stabilized with brandy and
vinegar, this would help the blood not clot.
Julia Child's Coq au Vin Recipe:
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Prep time: 45 min
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes
2 1/2 to 3 pounds cut-up frying chicken, skin on and thoroughly dried (I used skinless boneless breasts and thighs instead)*
4 ounces lean thick-cut bacon
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup cognac
red wine (Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Beaujolais or Chianti)**
2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken stock or broth
garlic, mashed or minced
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon thyme
Brown-Braised Onions (see recipe below)
Mushrooms (see recipe below)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, softened
The U.S. Department
of Agriculture, as well as food agencies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere,
advises against washing poultry. Rinsing chicken will not remove or kill much
bacteria, and the splashing of water around the sink can spread the bacteria
found in raw chicken. Cooking poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit effectively
destroys the most common culprits behind food-borne illness.
Avoid bold, heavily-oaked red wine varietals like Cabernet.
Dry chicken thoroughly in a
towel. Season chicken with salt and pepper;
Remove any rind off the bacon and cut the bacon
into lardons (rectangles 1/4-inch across and
1-inch long). In a saucepan, simmer the
bacon sticks in 2 quarts of water for 10
minutes; remove from heat, drain, rinse in
cold water, and pat dry.
In a large heavy
frying pan, casserole dish, or electric
skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil
until moderately hot. Add the bacon and saute slowly
until they are lightly browned. Remove
bacon to a side dish. Place chicken pieces into
the hot oil (not crowding pan), and brown on
all sides. Return bacon to the pan, cover
pan, and cook slowly for 10 minutes, turning
browning the chicken, uncover pan, pour in the cognac.
by igniting with a lighted match. Let flame
a minute, swirling pan by its handle to burn
off alcohol; extinguish with pan cover.
Pour the red wine
into the pan and add just enough chicken
broth to completely cover the chicken pieces. Stir in
tomato paste, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme.
Bring the liquid to a simmer, then cover
pan, and simmer slowly for about 30 minutes
or until the chicken meat is tender when
pierced with a fork or an instant-read
meat thermometer registers an
internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers
asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the
Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the
right. To learn more about this excellent
thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined:
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the Brown-Braised Onions and the Mushrooms
(see recipe below).
chicken is done cooking, remove from the
pan to a platter, leaving the cooking liquid in the pan.
Increase heat to high and boil the cooking
liquid rapidly until approximately 2 cups of
liquid is boiling, in a small bowl, blend
the 3 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons
softened butter into a smooth paste; beat
the flour/butter mixture into the
approximately 2 cups hot cooking liquid with
a whisk. Simmer and stir for a minute or two
until the sauce has thickened (the result
will be a sauce thick enough to lightly coat
a spoon - just thick enough to coat the
chicken and vegetables lightly). If sauce is
too thin, boil down rapidly to concentrate;
if sauce is too thick, thin out with
additional spoonfuls of chicken stock. Taste
the final sauce, adding more salt and pepper if
serving, reheat the onions and mushrooms (if
Chicken is now ready for final reheating,
but can be set aside in the sauce until
cool, then covered and refrigerated for 1 to
2 days. To reheat, simmer slowly, covered,
over low heat. Baste and turn chicken every
2 minutes until thoroughly warmed through (6
to 8 minutes).
NOTE: Do not
overcook chicken at this point.
immediately: Shortly before serving, bring the sauce and
the cooked chicken to a simmer, cover and
simmer slowly for 4 to 5 minutes, until
chicken is hot through.
NOTE: Do not
overcook chicken at this point.
To serve: Either serve from the casserole dish or
arrange the chicken on a large platter. Pour the
sauce over the chicken. Arrange the
Brown-Braised Onions on one side of the
chicken and the Mushrooms on the other side.
Decorate with sprigs of parsley. Accompany
with parsley potatoes, rice, or noodles;
buttered green peas or a green salad; hot
French bread; and the same red wine you used
for cooking the chicken.
NOTE: This dish is
traditionally served with wide egg noodles.
Makes 4 to 6
12 to 24 small white
onions, peeled (or double the amount if you want to use tiny frozen peeled raw onions)*
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
If neither frozen nor fresh pearl onions are available, substitute one large
onion cut into 1/2-inch pieces. (Do not use jarred pearl onions, which will turn
mushy and disintegrate into the sauce.)
While chicken is cooking, drop onions into
boiling water, bring water back to the boil, and let boil for 1 minute. Remove
from heat and drain. Cool onions in ice water. Shave off the two ends (root and stem ends) of each onion,
peel carefully, and pierce a deep cross in the root end with a small knife (to
keep onions whole during cooking).
In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat the
olive oil, add parboiled onions, and toss for several minutes until lightly
browned (this will be a patchy brown). Add water to halfway up onions and add
1/4 to1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover pan and simmer slowly for 25 to 30 minutes or
until onions are tender when pierce with a knife.
NOTE: Onions may be cooked in
advance, set aside, then reheated when needed. Season to taste just before serving.
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, washed, well dried, left whole if small, sliced or quartered if large
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Prepare mushrooms. In a large frying pan over
medium heat, heat butter and olive oil; when bubbling hot, toss in mushrooms and
saute over high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from
NOTE: Mushrooms may be cooked in
advance, set aside, then reheated when needed. Season to taste just before