Coq au vin only sounds fancy. In reality it is a simple chicken dish that is slow cooked in red wine and herbs. It is a traditional French comfort food that uses every day ingredients to create something that is truly fantastic. This dish makes regular appearances on my Sunday evening dinner table during the fall and winter when I crave something warm and comforting. You can easily double the recipe which would produce tasty leftovers for lunches during the week.
I have a couple of tips to share that make creating this dish so much easier. I prefer to use fresh pearl onions but if you can’t find them the frozen variety will do. If using the fresh onions, do boil them with their skins intact. Once they are cool enough to handle, pierce the ends with a sharp knife and the skins will slip right off. And don’t omit the brandy. The alcohol will cook off leaving a wonderfully subtle brandy flavor in the dish. (Be sure to use a good tasting brandy). But whatever you do, make sure you use a long handled match when igniting the dish. The flames might get you otherwise! And invite the family in to watch the spectacle of the flame; in our house it serves as pre-dinner entertainment.
COQ AU VIN
8 bone-in, skin on chicken thighs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup all purpose flour
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons brandy
2 cups dry red wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
12 small portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed and halved
16 pearl onions
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons parsley, minced
- Combine the flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a shallow dish.
- Dredge each piece of chicken through the flour mixture making sure to coat each side. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven set over a medium-high burner.
- Working in batches, add the chicken thighs to the pot and cook until the chicken is browned on both sides, about 15 minutes.
- Return all of the chicken to the pot and pour the brandy into the pot.
- Using a long handled match, ignite the chicken.
- Once the flame burns out add the wine, garlic, thyme and bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil over high heat, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a saute pan set over high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and the remaining olive oil.
- Add the mushrooms and saute until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set the pan aside.
- Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pearl onions and broil until tender but firm 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the onions and allow to cool until they are comfortable to handle.
- Using your fingers and a small, sharp knife, slice the end off of the onion and slip off the skins.
- Add the remaining butter to the skillet and melt it over high heat.
- Add the onions and the sugar to the skillet and saute until lightly caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- About 10 minutes before the chicken is done, add the mushrooms and onions to the pot and continue cooking as directed.
- When the chicken is cooked through, remove the pot from the heat, adjust the seasonings, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.