Recipe: Coq au Vin

I’ve been taking inspiration from Julia Child’s coq au vin for ages – although I never quite follow the recipe. I’m always missing an ingredient, trying to save some time, so on and so forth. But, it still always turns out really well. Here is my homey take on a legend.


  • 1/2 lb bacon (about 8 slices), cut up into small pieces (if you do not wish to use bacon, just substitute about 2-3 tbs butter)
  • 2 tbs butter as needed
  • 3-4 lbs dark meat chicken (I use a combination of bone in thighs and drumsticks)
  • 1/4 cup brandy for flaming (optional)
  • 2 medium onions (or 1lb peeled pearl onions) cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3-4 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1/2 tsp dried or fresh thyme (1/4 tsp if powdered)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 lb mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • TO SERVE: This is delicious served over mashed potatoes or with baguettes. I use mashed potato flakes for the potatoes and it’s quick and yummy.


  • 6-7 qt dutch oven or large pot WITH TIGHT FITTING LID (lid is very important)
  • slotted spoon
  • tongs
  • cutting board and knife
  • spatula
  • large mixing bowls
  • whisk
  • long reach lighter


  1. Render the fat out of the bacon. If you are not using bacon, substitute 2-3 tbs butter until the bottom of the pan is fully covered. Once the bacon is browned, remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and leave the drippings in the pan.
  2. If there is not enough oil in the pan, add butter. Using tongs, lay the chicken skin side down. Lightly salt and pepper, and sprinkle a little thyme, some garlic powder. Flip after about 2 minutes. The skin should be golden brown. Be careful when flipping not to strip the skin off the chicken.
  3. Do the same on the other side. Salt, pepper, a little thyme, some garlic powder.
  4. You may need to work in batches, to avoid overcrowding.
  5. When all the chicken is golden, you are ready for your next step.
  6. Get your LID ready!
  7. Optional step – Pour the brandy into the pot. Using a long reach lighter, light the chicken on fire. Let flame for a minute or 2.
  8. To put out the flames, COVER the pan with the LID.
  9. Give it a minute or two to make sure the flame is out. Whisk together the flour, chicken stock, wine, and tomato paste.
  10. Uncover the pot, and add cooked bacon, onions, carrots, the flour mixture, and a bay leaf. Mix gently.
  11. Cover the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  12. Remove the chicken pieces if they are done (juices run clear).
  13. The sauce should be thick enough to viscously coat a spoon. Boil down to thicken or add water as necessary.
  14. Add mushrooms to the sauce and cook on medium for another 10 minutes.
  15. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  16. Add the chicken back into the pot and mix gently.
  17. Serve over mashed potatoes or with baguette!