This delicious and easy coq au vin recipe comes from the late, great French chef Michel Richard, who I had the pleasure of working for during my early days as a chef. I worked at Michel’s restaurant, Citrus, on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood during the late 1990s, where I learned many of the basics of French cooking.
This recipe is easy, but fairly time consuming. Be sure to marinate the chicken for at least 4 hours, or overnight, for the best flavor. Although the original French coq au vin recipe calls for coq (rooster), most people make it with chicken these days. Use a good quality wine when preparing this dish, and serve it with my garlic mashed potatoes.
French Coq au Vin
- 4 chicken legs with thighs attached or 6 chicken thighs (without legs)
- 4-6 thyme sprigs
- 4 crushed garlic cloves or 1 tablespoons of garlic-shallot puree
- 1½ cups Cabernet Sauvignon
- 6 ounces beet juice from unsweetened canned beets – or another 3/4 cup additional Cabernet
- ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 slices bacon halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
- 16 pearl onions peeled
- 2 medium carrots peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 16 medium-large button mushrooms
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Marinate the chicken pieces in a large casserole dish with wine, thyme, garlic and beet juice. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight, turning over once in a while to ensure even marinating.
- When ready to cook, drain the chicken pieces on a paper towel and pat dry. Strain the marinade and reserve for the dish.
- Preheat oven to 300 F. Melt butter in a Dutch oven. Brown the bacon bits, and scoot to the side of the pot. Brown the chicken pieces in the bacon fat on both sides, about 3 minutes each.
- Add onions and carrots to the pot with the bacon. Add flour and stir well, about 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock and tomato paste, stirring to get all bits incorporated. Add strained marinade and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, cover pot, and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, turning chicken once in a while until cooked.
- Remove pot from oven and place on a burner. Remove chicken pieces and place in a casserole dish. Put in the oven to keep warm at about 180F.
- Add the mushrooms to the cooking liquid and boil until the sauce is thickened and reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Remove thyme and season with salt and pepper.
- When ready to serve, place chicken on plate with some vegetables and lots of sauce on top. Serve chicken with garlic mashed potatoes or risotto if desired.