Julia Child's coq au vin is a classic French dish. You make this delicious chicken stew with red wine, chicken, and stock.
Coq au vin was made famous worldwide by Julia Child. Her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking is full of classic recipes, but this chicken stew and boeuf bourguignon are by far the most popular.
Chicken - for this recipe, I am using chicken drumsticks. They are cheap and full of flavor.
You could also use chicken thighs or a whole chicken cut into pieces. I don't recommend using chicken breast because it gets dry very quickly while cooking.
Traditionally, a whole chicken is used for this dish. You can ask the butcher to cut it into pieces for you.
Wine - a fair amount of red wine goes into traditional coq au vin. Choose one with a rich, full flavor, such as Pinot Noir or Merlot.
It really doesn't have to be an expensive wine, but as it largely determines the flavor, it is important that you choose one that you also enjoy drinking.
Tip: if you love cooking with wine, you should definitely check out my recipe for coq au vin blanc with white wine!
Stock - you can use stock cubes when making this recipe, but using poultry stock will give your sauce an extra deep flavor.
Herbs - a little dried thyme goes into my recipe. I chose dried herbs because not everyone has fresh ones at home.
Would you rather use fresh herbs? Then add one tablespoon of fresh thyme.
Flour - to thicken the sauce a little, add a little flour. Fry the flour briefly with the onions to take off the raw flavor.
If you prefer to eat gluten-free, you can also replace the flour with a paste of water and cornstarch. Add this at the end and let it simmer for a few minutes.
My tips for the best coq au bin
Make it a day before. Letting the coq au vin rest overnight gives the flavors a chance to develop properly. This makes the dish even fuller in flavor!
As the coq au vin needs to simmer for a long time, it is important to use a thick-bottomed pan. I prefer to use a large frying pan for it.
The thick bottom distributes the heat better, preventing everything from burning.
After adding the wine and stock, scrape the bottom well to loosen any bits that have stuck. It is precisely those bits that add a lot of flavor to the dish!
If you feel it will still burn, you can add a little water and turn down the heat. Scrape the bottom well before continuing. Black particles will cause your sauce to become bitter, and you want to avoid that.
Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken a little more while cooling down.
As the sauce evaporates while cooking, it is wise to add the salt only at the end.
Oven and slowcooker coq au vin
Don't feel like staying around while this chicken stew is simmering? You can also cook it in the oven!
This dish is also great for making in a slow cooker. Cook the chicken for about 6 hours on low. If the sauce is still too thin, you can thicken it in a pan with some cornstarch.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
I am regularly asked whether you can eat dishes like coq au vin, tiramisu, or boeuf bourguignon if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
My answer to that is no. Because the alcohol never fully evaporates, I advise against eating these dishes.
What you could do is use non-alcoholic wine if you make this recipe for children and pregnant women.
What to serve with coq au vin
- Mashed potatoes
- Fresh bread such as baguette or sourdough bread
- Boiled potatoes
- Cooked vegetables such as green beans or Brussels sprouts.
- A salad like my spinach salad is also very nice with it.
- It may sound a bit weird, but I also like to serve pasta or rice with this dish.
- A large Dutch oven. I love this pan when i'm making recipes like this.
Coq au vin stays good in the fridge for about 3-4 days.
You can also freeze this recipe. Divide the chicken over freezer bags or containers. This way it will keep for about three months.
Take the chicken out of the freezer the night before you want to serve it, and let it thaw slowly in the fridge.
You can heat it in a pan on the stove or put it in the microwave. If the sauce gets a little too thick you can add a litte water.
More French recipes
Julia Child's coq au vin
- 8 chicken thighs
- 1 large onion
- 4 oz bacon diced
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- Cook the bacon cubes in a dry Dutch oven and remove them from the pan.
- Meanwhile, clean and dice the carrot, mushrooms, and onion.
- Add the butter to the remaining fat and fry the chicken for a few minutes. After a few minutes, remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. If your pan is not big enough to fit all the chicken on the bottom, it is best to do this in two batches.
- Return the pan to medium heat and sauté the onions and garlic in the remaining fat until translucent.
- Add the carrot and mushrooms and cook them for a few minutes.
- Stir in the flour, and after two minutes of cooking, add the wine, stock, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, and some salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Put the chicken and bacon back into the pan and turn down the heat. Let the chicken simmer gently without a lid for about 60 minutes. Occasionally stirring to prevent the bottom from burning.
- If you find the sauce still a bit too thin after an hour of simmering, you can let it simmer a bit more until the sauce is the desired thickness or add a little cornstarch.