Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Coq a vin-An Almost Autumn Stew

The trees are starting to dress in their autumn finery around town.  I thought I'd do the same so on Sunday, I donned a heavier skirt and a turtleneck sweater and was very comfortable.  Yesterday, it was back to short sleeves.  Why am I surprised?  Didn't my mother always speak of "Indian Summer"?  My closet is in transition and so is the pantry.

This particular recipe is by no means a classic.  I've combined elements of the classic recipe from Dione Lucas with other recipes that I've collected over the years.  If one were doing the classic dish, a whole chicken, cut up, would be in the pot.    This "interpretation"  will definitely please guests invited for a casual meal.  The beauty of the dish is that it's even better on day two.  I'm really partial to that sort of dish since it lets me clean up the kitchen and myself before guests arrive.

As you can see (from this overly fall-coloring attempt at manipulating the photo), I served it with oven roasted vegetables.  However, all you need is a salad and some warm crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

Coq Au Vin
(A little from here and a little from there
and certainly not classic)

8 chicken thighs and legs, bone in and skin attached
2 cups of a good, full-bodied red wine
salt and pepper
6 ounces of fat back (or slab bacon), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as needed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, diced
6 garlic cloves, sliced
12 pearl onions peeled (I use frozen)
8 ounces of mixed mushrooms, cut in half if large
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp Cognac
2 dried bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied with kitchen twine

Place the chicken into a large bowl and pour the wine over.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the chicken, reserving the wine, and pat  dry.  

Leave it, uncovered, on paper towels for 15 minutes to continue drying.  Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 325.

Saute bacon in a dutch oven or heavy pan over medium heat until crisped and browned, about 15 minutes.  Transfer bacon to a paper towel, leaving drippings in the pot.  Add enough olive oil to measure about three tablespoons.  

Raise heat to medium high and quickly brown the chicken pieces on both sides.  Transfer to a plate.  Add the chopped onions and diced carrots to the pot and cook 3 to 4 minutes.   Add the pearl onions and mushrooms and cook until starting to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook one minute.  Stir in the flour and tomato paste, and cook for two minutes.  Add the Cognac and cook, stirring, for one minute.

Return the chicken and bacon to to the pot.  Pour in the reserved wine and add the herbs.  Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.  Cover and place in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour until the chicken is done.  Discard the herbs and spoon off the fat.

I make this dish a day ahead as it only gets better.  To do this, cool until you can handle the chicken.  Carefully remove the skin from the chicken and discard.  Tuck the chicken back into the pot and refrigerate.  You will be able to remove even more of the fat after chilling and before reheating.



  1. What a beautiful fall meal!! We're having an indian summer here too...but I'm going to enjoy the warmth while it lasts!

  2. super photo of the food. food is very hard to get a good photo of. or it is for me. we wear the same thing year round here in Florida and no transition for us. every blog is taling about fall and changing season and autumn colors. i need to get out there and take some autumn florida color

  3. I agree--the dish does taste better the next day...gotta love that!

  4. This looks wonderful! What a nice cozy meal for a fall dinner; thank you for sharing this fall recipe. Keeping this one.

  5. Your cog a vin turned out beautiful. Great photo and I know it tasted it wonderful.

  6. I am soooo ready for fall, in both cooking and clothing.

  7. Makes you want to cozy up to a fireplace and enjoy a wonderful evening meal. I might try to make this but it will be without the cognac as I don't normally keep that in the cupboard!

    Have a great day Bonnie!

  8. Always a yummy dish isn't it?!
    Yours looks rich and very tasty :)

  9. Good Morning, Bonnie... Taken with the New camera?????? Beautiful pictures.... AND your recipe looks YUMMY... thanks!!!!


  10. Your pics make my mouth water.

    Hi, Bonnie. I gave you a blog award. You can read about it here.


  11. What a lovely recipe. You also were able to avoid the purple chicken most recipes produce :-). I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  12. Wow, this recipe sure must be delicious! Thank you for sharing it with us. Even here in So. California we are noticing it seems a little bit autumnal (even if only temporarily), so much so that I also made a wonderful autumn stew yesterday! But I did not have the foresight to photo and blog about it. I'm going to try your coq a vin next time.

  13. I have never made Coq au Vin. It sounds and looks so delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  14. This looks wonderful, I can almost smell it now. And the overly bright colors just signal my hunger even more.

  15. MMmmmmm, sounds warm and hearty and just delicious!

    Enjoying your new toy?

  16. Wow, Looks great! I love Coq a Vin one of my absolute favorites. Just makes me feel warm all over.

  17. What a hearty, fall-flavored meal. A loaf of rustic Italian bread would round this out perfectly. I'm so wishing that it was a bit cooler here...I'm in the mood for this type of food!

  18. One day I'm going to put together a list of all of the great coq au vin recipes I've stumbled across, organized by (1) time, (2) number of pots, and (3) number on ingredients.

    Happy Fall!

  19. Still stinkin' hot here- I'm looking forward to cooler temps! (I may regret that statement in February.) This looks like the ultimate comfort meal- so delicious!)

  20. What an elegant dish! Looks super delish too :)


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