Coq au Vin, a quintessential French dish, holds a special place in culinary history.
As we celebrate National Coq au Vin Day, let’s explore the origins and traditions behind this hearty and flavorful chicken stew. From its humble beginnings as a peasant’s dish to its rise in popularity as a symbol of French gastronomy, coq au vin continues to captivate taste buds worldwide.
A Brief History
Coq au Vin, which translates to “rooster in wine,” traces its roots back to rural France, where it was created out of necessity. In earlier times, roosters were tough and required long cooking times to tenderize the meat. Peasant households would simmer old roosters in red wine along with aromatic vegetables and herbs to create a rich, flavorsome stew. The slow cooking process allowed the tough meat to become tender and infused it with the robust flavors of wine, herbs, and vegetables.
Coq au Vin
Savor the robust flavors and tender chicken of your own coq au vin. Bon appétit!
- 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
- 4 slices of bacon, chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 8 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- 1 bottle of red wine (such as Burgundy or Pinot Noir)
- 2 cups of chicken broth
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside, leaving the rendered fat in the pot.
- Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken in the bacon fat, working in batches if necessary. Once browned, remove the chicken and set aside.
- In the same pot, add the chopped onion, garlic, mushrooms, and carrots. Sauté until the vegetables are softened and lightly browned.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir well to coat. This will help thicken the sauce later.
- Return the chicken and bacon to the pot. Pour in the red wine and chicken broth, ensuring that the chicken is mostly covered. Add the thyme sprigs and bay leaves. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Cover the pot and let it simmer gently for about 1 hour or until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Skim off any excess fat or impurities that rise to the surface.
- Once cooked, remove the chicken and vegetables from the pot and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid to remove any solids, and then return the liquid to the pot.
- Increase the heat and reduce the liquid to thicken the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Return the chicken and vegetables to the pot and heat through.
- Serve the coq au vin in deep plates or bowls, garnished with fresh parsley. Accompany it with crusty bread or buttery mashed potatoes.
As we celebrate National Coq au Vin Day, take a moment to appreciate the humble origins and enduring appeal of this classic French dish. Bring a taste of France into your kitchen and enjoy your newest culinary adventure with coq au vin!
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