Coq Au Vin – Chicken In Red Wine

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Coq Au Vin – Chicken In Red Wine is a delicious French Dish. Renowned around the world it is very popular indeed. It is a recipe that can be on the table very quickly. But it is actually better if you allow the chicken to marinate overnight, in red wine and some vegetables and herbs. That is how I make this recipe.

Often creamy mashed potatoes are the main accompaniment to the chicken. But you can serve it however you wish.

Although I ate my coq au vin on the day I made it some people like to leave it to eat the next day as they flavour is said to develop more.

Ingredients for Marinating Chicken

There is quite a long list of ingredients, but the only one that might not be too readily available is pearl onions. But let’s look at the full list.

Chicken – Really this is chicken pieces. I use chicken thighs, but it is common to use a combination of thighs, drumsticks, legs, breast etc. Indeed some people take a whole chicken and cut it into pieces. Some people like to skin the chicken pieces, but I prefer mine with skin on.

Red Wine – Any red wine is fine, but don’t spend a lot of money on it. I use Pinot Noir.

Thyme – about 8 sprigs, divided into some for the marinade and the rest for cooking the dish.

Garlic – For the marinade and then for cooking the dish. You can use the marinade cloves in the cooking if you wish. I discard the marinade cloves and use fresh ones for cooking, but that is a personal choice.

Carrot – for the marinade.

Onion – for the marinade.

Celery – for the marinade.

Bay Leaves – for the marinade.

Coq Au Vin

Ingredients for Coq Au Vin

Mushrooms – Many recipes call for button mushrooms, but any mushrooms are fine. I use chestnut mushrooms, cutting the larger ones into smaller pieces.

Pearl Onions – These are little white onions, sometimes referred to as baby onions. I bought mine frozen. However I see that Sainsburys sells them in bags, with the skins on. Don’t be tempted to buy jars of silverskin onions, since they are pickled. If you cannot find pearl onions you can use small shallots.

Chicken Stock – just a basic stock, maybe a cube dissolved in hot water, is fine.

Bacon Lardons – to give extra flavour to the dish. Streaky bacon is a god alternative.

Butter – for frying and for a roux. Just use as much as you need

Olive Oil – for frying.

Tomato Puree/Paste – just a little to add an umami flavour to the red wine sauce.

Flour – to create a roux to thicken the sauce during cooking.

Salt & Pepper – to season the chicken. You may wish to add more to the dish, depending on how much salt is in the stock.

Process For Marinating The Chicken

The process for Coq Au Vin is quite straightforward. However it is made so much easier by preparing all the ingredients in advance.

As I mention above it is best to create a marinade for the chicken. and then to marinate it overnight. The marinade is the red wine, some garlic and thyme as well as the mirepoix combination of onion, carrot and celery. However the last three ingredients are simply cut into chunks.

Having allowed the chicken to marinate overnight it is time to cook the dish. We start by taking the chicken out of the marinade and patting it dry. Then season the chicken with salt and pepper. The marinade then needs to cook to reduce the liquid by about 50%. After that we strain the liquid and reserve it for later. The vegetables etc in the marinade can be discarded.

Coq Au Vin

Process for Cooking Coq Au Vin

Fry off the bacon, in just a little oil and then set it aside. Next, brown the chicken pieces and set them aside as well.

Then fry the mushrooms in a little butter and oil, until they are browned a little and set them aside. Do the same with the pearl onions.

Heat the butter and oil in a large, oven proof, pan. Cook off the garlic for a couple of minutes. Then stir in the small amount of tomato puree. Add the flour and stir it in to create a paste. Gradually stir in all of the stock creating a smooth, thickening, sauce. Pour in the reserved marinade liquid and stir it through.

Then it is time to add in the chicken, bacon lardons, mushrooms, pearl onions and thyme. Bring the pan to a boil and then cover it and place it in a preheated oven, at 180C/350F and cook for about 40 minutes. Then uncover the pan and reduce the sauce to the consistency you like.

My Coq Au Vin

As I mention above I like to use chicken thighs in my dish, with the skins on. After cooking my dish in the oven for 40 minutes I put the pan back on the stove and reduced the sauce to a thicker consistency. Then I took a spoon to scoop off some excess fat. After that I put a little chopped parsley over the top.

I served mine with some Jersey Royal new potatoes, which are simply the best. The chicken was so delicious and juicy. The sauce had a wonderful richness too. Along with the onions and mushrooms it was a really wonderful eating experience.

Coq Au Vin – Chicken In Red Wine Sauce – Video

Another lovely dinner recipe is Chicken Paprikash with Spaetzle.

Coq Au Vin – Chicken In Red Wine

Recipe by geoffcooCourse: Stove top/SavouryCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1350g(3 lb) chicken pieces

  • 750ml(3 cups + 2 tbsp) red wine

  • 1 carrot, chopped

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1 stick of celery, chopped

  • 9 cloves of garlic, 4 for marinade and 5 for cooking(or just 4 and use for both)

  • 8 sprigs of thyme, 4 for marinade and 4 for cooking

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 500ml(2 cups + 4 tsp) chicken stock

  • 200g(7 oz) bacon lardons

  • 300g(10 1/2 oz) mushrooms, chopped into good sized pieces if they are large.

  • 24 pearl onions, skinned

  • 56g(1/4 cup) butter

  • 45ml(3 tbsp) olive oil

  • 28g(3 tbsp) plain flour

  • 10ml(2 tsp) tomato puree

  • salt and pepper, for seasoning the chicken.


  • Place the chicken, carrot, chopped onion, celery, 4 sprigs of thyme, 4 cloves of garlic and the wine into a large bowl, with the wine covering the chicken as well as possible.
  • Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and use paper towel to pat the pieces dry.
  • Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and set aside.
  • Pour the marinade, with all the vegetables, into a saucepan and bring it to a boil, cooking it until the liquid has reduced by about half.
  • Strain off the vegetable and set the liquid aside. Discard the vegetables.
  • In a heavy bottomed, ovenproof, pan fry off the bacon lardons until they are cooked and have released the fat. You can use just the smallest amount of oil for this too.
  • Strain the bacon and set aside, leaving the fat in the pan.
  • Fry off the chicken piece until they have browned nicely, and set aside.
  • Strain off the fat from the pan. You can deglaze the pan too and pour that into the reserved marinade liquid.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  • Fry the mushrooms in about 1 tbsp of butter with a little oil, until they have browned, then strain them and set aside.
  • Do the same with the pearl onions.
  • Add the remaining butter and oil into the pan and then 5 garlic cloves and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the flour to create a roux.
  • Gradually add the chicken stock, stirring all the time, until you have a smooth, pale sauce.
  • Pour in the reserved marinade liquid and stir to combine.
  • Place 4 sprigs of time into the sauce and add the chicken, pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon lardons and give it all a good stir.
  • Place a lid on the pan and place it in the oven cook for 40 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and either cook for longer in the oven, or place the pan onto the stove and cook until the sauce has reduced to the consistency you prefer.
  • The dish is ready to serve, so you can sprinkle over some chopped parsley if you wish.

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