I have a chicken, one of three.  These birds were organic friend-grown that my wife and I received as gifts.  After roasting the first bird, we discovered they were quite tough.  If you have a bird too tough to roast, stewing is required, so the second bird found some friends with a group of dumplings.  The third?  I am using it for coq au vin.  This is a great recipe to cook the tougher birds one can find direct from farms as we try to be more locavoriffic.

I was astonished to find no recipes for Coq Au Vin here on Instructables.  I like to hook you up with alternative versions, if I can, but there are none to link to here.  Why is this?  Is the dish too fancy?  Is it not fancy enough?  Does it seem too hard?  Does everyone already know how to make it and I am wasting my time?

Let me tell you, friends:  Coq Au Vin is quite easy, especially if we implement our friend The Slow Cooker.  If you want to get down to brass tacks all you need is some chicken, some red wine, and some time.  Some thyme wouldn't hurt, either.

This rustic dish is a delightful main course for any day of the week.  I have it in my repertoire to impress people - which it often does, despite it being easy as pie.  Well, simpler in fact!  (my crust is a disaster!) WARNING:  This will take two days.

Step 1: What You Need

As I said before, you can make this with chicken and wine and it will taste good.  If you're going to call it Coq au Vin (which it "officially" isn't - French chefs can be snobby) you may as well go for broke with it.  (BONUS:  If you use beef in place of the chicken, you basically have Beef Bourguignon)

A Slow Cooker OR a Dutch Oven - I use a slow cooker, myself, but these are both items I think all kitchens should have.  So, go get them.  Right now.
Cast Iron Skillet - You could use any large skillet, really, but cast iron is so amazing.  If you don't have one, you should go get one.  I know I just sent you on a trip for a slow cooker and dutch oven, but it's your own fault for having an unprepared kitchen.
Tongs - long handled.
A chef's knife - any knife, really, you feel comfortable with.
Paring Knife - this is useful for many, many things.  Cutting veggies, chicken, or whatever.  I would keep it on hand at all times - you never know.
Shears - These are useful for butchering a chicken, should you choose to do so.
Sheet Pan - It will need a rim.
Cooling Rack - Metal.  Do they make any other kind?

Chicken - You can make this recipe with chicken thighs, which is how I often do it.  But chickens off the farm are easy to get and they taste really good.  You could always raise your own chickens, as well.  One piece is a serving, so use that as a guide.

Wine - Red Wine is traditional, and it looks nice as well.  I have been told that Pinot Noir is the "right" wine, but I'm using Merlot because the bottle was only eight bucks.  That's a double bottle in that picture.  We won't use it all.  A good rule of thumb is to use wine you like drinking, but I generally hate all wine and enjoy it in cooking, so that rule is kind of silly.  My point is that any red wine will do, even if its out of a box.  Just make sure it's not some sort of "watermelon flavored" or some such nonsense.  You could, of course, make your own.  You will probably need one bottle, but you can get away with a half.

Salt Pork/Bacon - I am using bacon today as salt pork is something I don't tend to have on hand.  This particular bacon is the "ends" of other slabs.  It's nice and fatty, which is what we really need for this recipe.  You may worry about the smokiness infiltrating the final product, but I have never had a problem.  I understand you can make your own, which sounds pretty (expletive deleted) awesome.  About 4-8 oz should do it.

Pearl Onions - You can find these in the produce department.  If you boil them for a quick minute, they tend to pop out of their skins easily. I have found this method to still be a pain in the rear.  Peeling onions is on the bottom of my "want to do" list, right below "clean the outhouse."  You can get these frozen at the supermarket.  Some may be shocked at my complete lack of DIY attitude about these babies, considering my encouragement to make your own bacon, but peeling onions SUCKS.  You'll need 20.

Mushrooms - plain white button is what you want here.  They will be soaking up flavor, mainly, so you don't want a strong mushroom flavor.  Stick to the buttons.  I have sliced here, but I normally buy them whole and quarter them.  There's several Instructables on growing mushrooms, but none for this particular type.  I use 8oz because that's how I buy them.

Chicken Stock/Broth - As I've said before, homemade is the best, but I am quite obviously using the boxed stuff here.  You may not even need it for this particular occasion, but its useful to have on hand.  In this recipe, you won't get a lot of the broth flavor coming through, anyway, so you can use the box/can without compunction.  Make your own if you have time.  How much you need will depend on your chicken.

Mirepoix - WHAT? you may ask?  This is the combo of onion, carrot, and celery that forms the backbone of French cooking.  Two parts onion, one part carrot, one part celery.  I just have one onion, and some carrots here.  We were out of celery.

Tomato Paste:  I forgot to put this in the main picture, so it gets its own.  Which is good, because I can show you the cool tube they sell tomato paste in.  Way more storable than the dang cans of my younger youth.

Salt - Always.  I have Kosher today.  It's going to be used to season the chicken prior to cooking, so you don't need any fancy salt.

Pepper - I always use fresh ground.  Pepper mills are bad ass, is why.

Thyme - Fresh if you have it, but there's no need to feel ashamed if it's dried.  It still tastes good, and that's what's important.  A few sprigs is all you need.

Bay Leaves - One or two, dependent on you.

You can probably toss in some rosemary, if you like.  I don't think it marries well with the wine, but tastes are individual, you know?

Very nice recipe. When I do it (and most other cooking pot recipes), I generally give a boil the day before (15-30mn), and then let it cool down. This gives a first cooking time of around 1 hour. It gives off taste for the night marinade and shorten the cooking time the day after. This is handy when you have guests and little time.<br><br>Also for these red wine stews, if the wine is rather light (colour and taste), I add a tea spoon of raw cacao powder (do not use chocolate drinks!!). Raw cacao powder will darken the sauce and add an absolutely undefinable (and delicious) taste to the meat and the sauce. You will surprise many when giving out the trick. <br><br>Another trick is to add an anchovy (yes, you read it well) as a substitute for salt. The strong taste of anchovy (I don't like anchovies) is not noticeable but it is there. It goes very well with tomato, carrot and celery. For a whole cock, I would add four to six anchovies fillets. Turn them to pur&eacute;e with a fork before adding to the sauce.<br><br>Bon app&eacute;tit.
Very nice tips, thanks!<br><br>I have to stress though that Coq is rooster in French and not chicken. Just so that you know.
I put some cocoa powder in a batch of chili thinking about this comment - great advice. What a great idea.<br><br>Sadly, my wife is allergic to fish. I have heard of using them as a salt sub, capers work as well.

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Bio: I am a Montessori teacher who likes to make things and likes to teach the kids how to make things. I am new to woodworking ... More »
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