Coq au vin is a quick and easy chicken recipe to cook at home from all the family. It embodies the true spirit of French cuisine – a delicious rustic dish that gathers everyone around the table to enjoy hearty food and a good glass of red wine. Legend traces this dish as far back as Julius Caesar. The classic version of the dish calls for red wine, specifically Burgundy, but different areas of France have their own versions; for example, coq au vin jaune (Jura), coq au Riesling (Alsace), and coq au Champagne.
For the chicken
organic or free range chicken, cut into 10 pieces (you could ask your butcher to do this)
1 heaped tbsp
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the marinade
full-bodied red wine, such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon
carrots, cut into slanted slices 1 cm (½ in) thick
celery sticks, cut into slices 1 cm (½ inch) thick
baby onions, peeled but left whole
black peppercorns, crushed
bouquet garni (parsley stalks, 2 bay leaves and 6 sprigs of thyme, tied together)
For the garnish
smoked streaky bacon, rind removed, diced
small button mushrooms, trimmed
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Bring the red wine to the boil and reduce it by a third, to remove the alcohol and concentrate the colour and flavour.
Leave to cool.
In a bowl, mix the chicken pieces, carrots, celery, baby onions, peppercorns and bouquet garni together and pour the cooled red wine over them.
Cover with cling film, refrigerate and leave to marinate for 24 hours.
Place a colander over a large bowl and put the chicken mixture in it to drain off the marinade.
Leave for a minimum of 1 hour to remove excess liquid.
Separate the chicken, vegetables and herbs, and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Season the chicken with 4 pinches of salt and 4 pinches of freshly ground black pepper. Reserve the liquid.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
Sprinkle the flour on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 8–10 minutes, until it is very lightly coloured. Set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C/300°F/Gas Mark 2.
On a high heat, in a large, heavy-based casserole, heat the olive oil and colour the chicken pieces in it for 5–7 minutes on each side. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add the drained vegetables and herbs to the casserole.
Lower the heat to medium high and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly coloured.
Spoon out most of the fat from the casserole, add the toasted flour and stir into the vegetables for a few seconds.
On a medium heat, whisk in the wine marinade little by little; this will create a sauce and prevent lumps forming.
Bring to the boil and skim any impurities from the surface. The wine marinade will be slightly thickened and have the consistency of a light sauce.
Add the chicken pieces and return to the boil. Cover with a lid and cook in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.
Over a medium heat, in a medium non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the diced bacon in it for 30 seconds.
Add the button mushrooms and cook for a further 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mix the diced bacon and button mushrooms into the coq au vin.
Sprinkle with the parsley and serve piping hot, straight from the casserole.
"If you wish you can serve the coq au vin as it is. But should you prefer a richer, more powerful sauce, drain it through a colander and, on a high heat, boil the sauce until it has reduced by one third. It should have acquired more body and become a rich, vinous colour. Then pour the sauce back over the chicken and vegetables."
This recipe is adapted from the book Simple French Cookery
Raymond brings authentic French family cooking to your kitchen. In these simple-to-follow recipes, he describes the basic techniques required to create traditional French food at home. Step-by-step instructions and photography accompany every stage, from starters and soups, fish, meat and vegetable dishes, through to a selection of irresistible desserts.