Coq au Vin

Coq au vin

By : robert vereecke

Serves 6

This classic French chicken casserole has been given a healthy makeover but still has a rich, deep flavour



  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 3 rashers (100g) dry-cured, smoked back bacon, fat trimmed, cut in parts of 1 cm
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, halved if large
  • 1 jar of pickled pearl onions – 250 g
  • 2 large onions, peeled and cut in slices
  • 2 free-range chicken legs (460g), skin removed
  • 4 free-range chicken thighs with bone and skin (650g), skin removed
  • 2 free-range, skinless, boneless chicken breasts (280g)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp brandy or Cognac
  • 600ml red wine
  • 150ml good-quality chicken stock
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 3 thyme sprigs, 2 rosemary sprigs and 2 bay leaves, to make a bouquet garni
  • small handful chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish


For the thickener

  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1½ tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp softened butter

For the balsamico vinegar reduction

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 shalot
  • 10 cl wine vinegar
  • 15 cl balsamic vinegar
  • 15 cl honey
  • 4 cl Worcester sauce
  • 10 cl soya sauce


Make the balsamico reduction

  • Heat up the olive oil and add the finely chopped shallot. Cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Deglaze with the wine vinegar, add the balsamic vinegar, the soya sauce, the honey and the worcestester sauce until reduced to 1/3 and when the liquid starts to thicken. Adjust with salt and pepper.


Prepare the Coq au Vin

  1. Rinse the pearl onions and put them in cold water for one hour.
  2. Pat the chicken pieces dry with kitchen paper. Pour the oil into the pan, then fry half the chicken pieces, turning regularly, for 5-8 mins until well browned. Remove, then repeat with the remaining chicken. Remove and set aside.
  3. Fry the onion slices and the garlic in the oil until slightly brow.
  4. Put the chicken legs and thighs over the onions into the pan, then pour in a little of the wine, stirring the bottom of the pan again and add 2 tsp of flour. Stir in the rest of the wine, the stock and tomato purée, drop in the bouquet garni, season with pepper and a pinch of salt.
  5. Cover, lower the heat to a gentle simmer, add the chicken breasts and cook for 50 mins-1hr.
  6. Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan or flameproof dish. Tip in the bacon and fry until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Drain the pearl onions on kitchenpaper and fry them, stirring or shaking the pan often, for 5-8 mins until well browned all over. Remove and set aside with the bacon.
  7. Add 2 tsp of oil in the saucepan and add the mushrooms. Fry over a high heat for a few mins until golden. Remove and set aside.
  8. Add the onions, bacon and mushrooms into the chicken pan 15 minutes before the end of cooking.


  1. Lift the chicken, shallots and bacon from the pan and transfer to a warmed serving dish. Remove the bouquet garni. To make the thickener, mix the flour, olive oil and butter in a small bowl using the back of a teaspoon. Bring the wine mixture to a gentle boil, then gradually drop in small pieces of the thickener, whisking each piece in using a wire whisk.Garnish with chopped parsley.


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