Coq au vin (chicken in wine)
Coq au vin is a traditional French dish. It is a casserole of chicken and vegetables cooked in red wine.
This is my version (not traditional!)
one piece of chicken per person
a few mushrooms and/or other
oil or butter for frying
knife and board for chopping
spoon for stirring
time in oven: 1 - 2 hours
preparing and frying vegetables
Like most casseroles, the amounts of ingredients are up to you.
This is a minimal recipe. At the end, I suggest some additional or substitute ingredients.
- Put a little oil or butter in the frying pan for frying. Fry the chicken pieces until the skin is brown. If you are using oil, you can fry at quite a high temperature (but watch it!) Butter gives its own taste and colour, but it can burn, so fry longer at a lower temperature. Frying chicken will throw off some more fat, which you can use for the next stage.
- You probably won't be able to fry anything else while the pan is full of chicken, as there won't be room. So remove the chicken onto a plate or somewhere.
Peel and chop the and fry it for a bit. If the pan is very dry (it shouldn't be), add more oil.
- Meanwhile, cut up the , add them to the pan and cook them for a bit.
- If you are cooking other ingredients (see below), they will need to be fried as well. When finished, take the pan off the heat.
- Take all the ingredients apart from the chicken and lay them at the bottom of your casserole. Put the chicken on top, with as much browned skin as possible facing upwards.
- Back to the frying pan. Make a by mixing some flour with the fat in the pan, then slowing adding the wine, stirring all the time over a low heat. This will also the frying pan by dissolving the stuff left over from frying on the bottom of the pan.
- Carefully pour the resulting sauce into the casserole. Try to avoid the chicken skin if you can, or wipe the sauce off after pouring. The idea is to have the vegetables at the bottom of the casserole, with the chicken on top, partly covered with sauce. The skin of the chicken sticks up above the sauce, so it stays crisp and will carry on browning. You can see this in the picture at the top of this page, and this is why you can't see any of the vegetables - they are underneath the chicken. If you don't have enough sauce, then add some water so the liquid now comes nearly up to the chicken skin. You don't need to mix the water in - the cooking process will do that.
- Put the lid on, and put the casserole in the oven. This needs to cook for about an hour, and can cook for two hours, which is why I give two temperatures (lower for longer). The longer you cook it, the more everything will fall to pieces and mingle in flavour. You may need to check on the liquid level during cooking. If everything is looking too dry, then you can add some more water. This time, you probably do need to mix the water into the stuff at the bottom of the casserole.
- At the end of cooking time, it's ready to eat. You have protein and some vegetables, so you will need some starch. I tend to have some crusty bread so I don't need to bother with any more cooking.
Some of the following ingredients are traditional and some are possible variations. The recipe above creates a meal with plenty of taste and not too many ingredients. You can try adding some of the below for authenticity, or variation, or personal taste.
- Bacon adds a smoky favour. Cut up a rasher or two of bacon into small pieces and fry it with the onion.
- Some people would insist that there must be .
Skin, chop and fry with the onion.
- Chopped are also traditional. Add with (or instead of) the mushrooms.
- You can add any other vegetable that will survive being cooked in a casserole. You are getting further and further away from a Coq au Vin, though. You may, however, be creating a new recipe of your own! Don't get over-excited. It's best to add ingredients sparingly, so you know how each one affects the final taste.
- The traditional herbs for this recipe are bay leaves and thyme. In fact, you can add any flavouring, but be careful not to overdo it.
- You can add if you want.
- Coq au vin is traditionally made with a mature chicken - a 'coq'. This has more flavour, but takes a long time to cook, and is difficult to get in Britain, anyway. So this recipe assumes conventional chicken. I suggest using pieces of chicken with bone as this improves the flavour. However these pieces of chicken can be quite awkward to fit in a casserole, especially if you are cooking for a lot of people. You can , or if really necessary, use boneless meat. I recommend using chicken with skin on, as this browns well and adds to the look and taste.
- I use a small bottle of wine (25 cl or quarter litre) for 2-3 people which makes a rich sauce. This is less than half a pint. You could use less if it's too rich for you (or too expensive) or more if you are cooking for more people. If you use water instead then it won't be Coq au Vin. The wine is usually red, although you can use white if you prefer.
- Some people remove all the vegetables towards the end of cooking, throw them away (since they have done their job in flavouring the sauce) and add a few more, such as little onions. That means that the new vegetables still have some bite in, yet the sauce is fully flavoured by the well cooked vegetables.
© Jo Edkins 2007 -