Coq au Vin: Making This French Stew is Easier Than You Think

Chef Kevin Dundon shares his secrets for making coq au vin
Coq au Vin: Making This French Stew is Easier Than You Think
Back to Basics/Octopus Publishing Group Ltd 2014

Kevin Dundon’s book, ‘Back to Basics: Your Essential Step-by-Step Cookbook,’ has more than 100 delicious recipes.

Coq au vin, a classic French dish of wine-braised chicken, is a surprisingly easy way to impress your family, friends, and dinner guests. Though it sounds fancy, coq au vin is essentially a slow-cooked chicken stew flavored with red wine and fatty bacon. Chef Kevin Dundon, celebrated Irish chef, TV personality, and author of Back to Basics: Your Essential Step-by-Step Cookbook, has been making the dish for years (when he was training to become a chef it was his go-to recipe for impressing his friends) and he’s shared a few tips (and an easy-to-follow and amazingly delicious recipe) with me.

What are some things to know the first time you make coq au vin?
• When you’re making coq au vin, have a word with your butcher; tell him you’re looking for a chicken, an older bird, for long slow cooking.

• You’ll also need some fat for your coq au vin. Use juicy lardons of bacon; thinner pieces will disintegrate into the sauce.

• Be sure to brown the chicken skin all over; it really does add flavor to the dish.

• Sometimes it can be difficult to find pearl onions. If you are having a hard time finding them, shallots make a good alternative.

What kind of wine do you recommend for this dish?
When it comes to the wine, a good quality wine is important; it doesn’t have to be from Burgundy, or even be French, but I find that a fruity, big-flavored wine will add more interest to the dish. Definitely use a wine that you would drink.

To Make Coq au Vin
First, place butter and oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, fry the chicken pieces for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown all over. Season well, then transfer to a casserole dish.

(Credit: Back to Basics/Octopus Publishing Group Ltd 2014)

Add the bacon to the empty pan and fry for 2 minutes, or until browned. Transfer to the casserole dish.

(Credit: Back to Basics/Octopus Publishing Group Ltd 2014)

Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic to the empty pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until glazed and golden brown.

(Credit: Back to Basics/Octopus Publishing Group Ltd 2014)

Stir in the tomato paste, wine, and stock; bring to a boil, then pour over the chicken in the casserole dish.

(Credit: Back to Basics/Octopus Publishing Group Ltd 2014)

Add the thyme and bay leaves, and then cover and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

(Credit: Back to Basics/Octopus Publishing Group Ltd 2014)

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a plate, cover with kitchen foil and keep warm. Remove the thyme and bay leaves from the sauce then bring it back to a boil. Add small pieces of the beurre manié to the boiling liquid.

(Credit: Back to Basics/Octopus Publishing Group Ltd 2014)

It is very important that the liquid is boiling or the sauce will be lumpy; whisk rapidly until the sauce thickens.

(Credit: Back to Basics/Octopus Publishing Group Ltd 2014)

Return the chicken pieces to the casserole dish, stir gently to coat in the sauce, and garnish with the parsley.

(Credit: Back to Basics/Octopus Publishing Group Ltd 2014)

Click here for chef Kevin Dundon’s full Coq Au Vin recipe

For more tips and easy-to-follow essential recipes, check out chef Kevin Dundon’s book, Back to Basics: Your Essential Step-by-Step Cookbook.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.

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