Recipe Index

French | Coq au Vin I

Posted on October 22, 2012

I love Coq au Vin, especially if I am eating it in Paris, who wouldn't? I've made a few versions over the years, I like this one because it is easy and healthier than the traditional versions. I was a little concerned that this recipe didn't include bacon, but I didn't miss it. I used two boneless, skinless breasts and no legs, but left all other ingredient amounts the same.

Yield: 4 servings

coq au vin


1 chicken (3 1/2 - 4 pounds) or 2 boneless, skinless breasts plus 2 whole chicken legs

12 small pearl onions (6 ounces), peeled

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup water

4 large mushrooms (4 ounces), cleaned and quartered (I sliced instead)

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

3 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped (2 teaspoons)

1 1/2 cups fruity, dry, robust red wine, such as Syrah or Grenache

1 fresh thyme sprig or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 bay leaves

3/4 teaspoon salt (I did to taste instead)

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I did to taste instead)

1 teaspoon potato starch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons red wine

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley


(Skip if not using a whole chicken.) If using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and cut them at the joints into 3 pieces each. Cut the chicken into 4 pieces: 2 breasts and 2 legs. Skin and bone the breasts. Set the breasts aside with the 4 meatier wing pieces.

(Skip if using only boneless chicken breasts.) To bone the chicken legs, first pull off the skin and cut the tips off the drumsticks. Then cut down each side of the thighbone and slide your knife under the bone to separate the meat from it. Holding the thighbone, cut all around the joint at the knee to loosen the meat. Scrape down the drumstick bone and pull out the bones. Set the legs aside with the breasts and wing pieces.

Put the pearl onions, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the sugar, and water in a large saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat, and boil until the water has evaporated and the onions start frying. Continue to cook, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally, until the onions are glazed on all sides. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 1 minute. Set aside, covered.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet. When it is hot, add the chicken wing pieces, if you have them, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly browned on all sides. Add the legs and brown for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Add the breasts and brown for 2 minutes on each side. Remove all the chicken pieces to a plate.

Add the chopped onion to the drippings in the skillet and sauté for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for about 10 seconds. Add the wine, thyme, bay leaves, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Return the legs and the wings to the pan, cover, and boil very gently for 5 minutes. Add the chicken breasts and boil gently for another 6 minutes.

Add the dissolved potato starch to the chicken and stir until the pan juices and thickened. Add the pearl onions and mushrooms, with their juice. Keep warm until serving.

When serving, sprinkle with chopped parsley.


(Ref. "Chicken with Red Wine" recipe, Essential Pépin.)