There are days when I get really nostalgic for culinary school and classic French cooking. It was such a fun, crazy and life changing time in my life. I absolutely fell in love with crafting mother sauces and classics like cassoulet, choucroute garni and of course, coq au vin. I don’t think it gets much better than fall off the bone tender chicken in an incredible stewed wine sauce. It takes some time, but most of it is just inactive.
While I pulled apart the chicken I let the sauce reduce by half. That really thickened it and concentrated its flavor. Then I just served the chicken over buttered noodles with a generous amount of sauce on top! Oh my goodness, it took me right back to my culinary school days and also made me want to book a flight ASAP to France. Hope you all love it too, mes amis! Bon Appetit.
This is such a wonderful, one pot version of the French classic coq au vin with lots of salty slab bacon and veggies for big flavor!
- 1 whole chicken 5 lbs
- 1 bottle red wine
- 1 whole onion diced
- 2 whole carrots peeled and sliced into thin rounds
- 2 stalks celery diced small
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1/2 pound slab bacon cut into small cubes
- 2 pinches salt
- 2 pinches black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms thinly sliced
First, marinate the chicken. In a very large, deep bowl combine the chicken, red wine (all of it), onion, carrots and celery. Get a small patch of cheesecloth and tie the peppercorns and cloves up in it tightly with kitchen twine. Place that sachet in the bowl as well, along with the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Let it sit covered in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or even up to overnight. When it is done marinating, remove the chicken to a plate and pat it dry with paper towel. Set it aside. Remove the herb sprigs and the sachet of spices as well and set them aside. Then strain the wine through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl and reserve it, as well as the vegetables held in the strainer.
Get out a large dutch oven and put the slab bacon cubes into it. Heat it up over medium high heat and let the bacon cook and crisp up completely for about 10 minutes while all of the lovely fat renders out. When it is cooked, remove it to a plate. Add the butter to the pot and let it start to melt. Salt and pepper the chicken generously inside and out, then place it in the pot and let the skin get nicely brown for about 5 minutes on each side, using tongs to move it. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon when it is browned on the outside. The mushrooms go in next to soften for a couple of minutes, followed by the reserved vegetables from the marinade. Let them get fragrant. Finally, pour in the reserved wine from the marinate and put the chicken, bacon, herbs and spice sachet back into the pot. Bring it to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce it to a simmer.
Let the coq au vin cook for 2 hours. When time is up, remove the chicken to a carving board. It will basically fall apart for you it is so tender so you won't even need to carve much, mostly just pull it apart. While you pull the chicken, remove the herbs and spice sachet from the pot and turn the heat back up on the wine sauce. Let it gently boil and reduce by half to thicken and concentrate the flavors. Place the chicken on a large, deep platter and spoon the sauce all over it. Serve immediately with buttered noodles and/or crusty bread!