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Cozy up with a bowl of French chicken stew! This easy Coq au Vin recipe is a rich, flavorful combination of braised chicken in red wine with bacon, mushrooms, onion and herbs. Pair the stew with creamy mashed potatoes or a loaf of crusty baguette to soak up all of that delicious broth!

Overhead shot of two bowls of easy coq au vin on a table with a side of baguette

Traditional Coq au Vin Recipe

Coq au Vin, which literally translates in French to “rooster/cock with wine,” is a traditional French chicken stew made with braised chicken in red wine with mushrooms, lardons (here we’re using bacon), and sometimes garlic. Julia Child brought coq au vin to mainstream America in her 1961 cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and on her cooking show, The French Chef. This peasant stew is an affordable, hearty dish with rich, complex, earthy, aromatic flavors (thanks to the mushrooms and herbs like thyme and parsley), and the more prominent taste of chicken and red wine, which form the base of the stew. It’s total comfort food that’s perfect for a chilly Sunday supper!

A classic French chicken stew in a Dutch oven

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for the easy coq au vin. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Bacon: adds rich, smoky flavor to the stew.
  • Chicken: I used bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs here, but you can also use a cut-up chicken if you prefer.
  • Garlic, kosher salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf and parsley: these ingredients all add great flavor to the dish.
  • Onion, carrots, celery and mushrooms: the vegetables that give the stew texture, color, and flavor.
  • Red wine: a good red Burgundy wine is most traditional, but you can use any dry red such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
  • Chicken stock: the stock forms the base of the stew and offers a rich, strong flavor. Substitute with chicken broth, if necessary.
  • Butter: added at the end, a small amount of butter acts as an emulsifier, giving you a thick, velvety sauce.
  • Red wine vinegar: this acidic finishing touch brightens up the hearty, earthy dish.
Plate of browned chicken thighs for a traditional coq au vin recipe

The Best Wine for Coq au Vin

Since this dish literally means rooster with wine, the wine that you choose is obviously an important part of the recipe. An authentic coq au vin is made with a red Burgundy wine, such as Pinot Noir. You can also use Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Shiraz or Merlot. Most importantly, pick a high-quality wine that you would actually like to drink, since the wine that you cook with will impact the taste of your meal.

How to Make Coq au Vin

This simple French stew develops so much flavor as you layer ingredients and slowly braise the chicken in the Dutch oven. It’s not difficult, but it does require almost 2 hours from start to finish — making it ideal for a quiet Sunday supper.

Process shot showing how to make coq au vin
  1. Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven, then remove the meat to a plate and reserve the drippings in the pot.
  2. Brown the chicken in batches.
  3. Sauté the vegetables and garlic.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine, then stir in the stock, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper.
  5. Return the bacon and the chicken to the pot.
  6. Cover and cook in a 350° F oven for about 40 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.
  7. Uncover the pot and place it on the stovetop over medium-high heat.
  8. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by about half, approximately 10-15 minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vinegar.
  10. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with parsley or thyme.
Horizontal overhead shot of a Dutch oven full of chicken coq au vin

Optional Tip for Crispy Chicken

If the chicken isn’t crispy enough for your liking when it comes out of the oven, you can place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes while you simmer the sauce. This will help the skin crisp up nicely! Just keep a close eye on the meat because it can burn quickly under the broiler.

How to Thicken Coq au Vin Sauce

Some coq au vin recipes add a combination of flour and butter at the end, which acts like a roux to thicken the sauce. Here, you’ll just thicken the broth by simmering the liquid on the stovetop until it’s reduced to your liking. If you still find that it’s too thin, you can certainly whisk in some flour at the end as well.

Close up shot of a wooden spoon in a pot of coq au vin

What to Serve with a Traditional Coq au Vin Recipe

Coq au vin is delicious when served with anything starchy that can soak up that rich, flavorful broth. Try pairing the stew with mashed potatoes, noodles, or a crusty loaf of French baguette or No-Knead Bread. Other tasty options for a Southern twist include biscuits, grits, or hoe cakes.

Overhead shot of the best coq au vin recipe in a bowl with mashed potatoes

Storage

  • Make Ahead: Prepare the stew up to 1 day ahead, let it cool to room temperature, cover with the lid, and refrigerate overnight. Reheat the pot on the stovetop just before serving.
  • Freeze: Let the stew cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. Once chilled, transfer the mixture to a resealable container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Reheat: Transfer the stew to a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Reheat gently over low heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.
Front shot of two bowls of coq au vin on a table in front of a brick wall

Tips for the Best Coq au Vin Recipe

  • Pat the chicken dry before seasoning and searing. Minimizing excess moisture helps the skin get crisp and brown in the pot.
  • Use bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces rather than boneless, skinless thighs or breasts. The skin and bones add flavor to the dish and help to prevent the meat from drying out.
  • While a whole cut-up chicken or rooster is most traditional, I prefer chicken thighs in this dish. The pieces are a uniform size, so they cook in the same amount of time. The dark meat on the thighs stays moist and juicy during the braising process, while white meat breasts have a tendency to become dry when cooked for too long.
  • If the chicken isn’t crispy enough for your liking when it comes out of the oven, you can place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes while you simmer the sauce. This will help the skin crisp up nicely! Just keep a close eye on the meat because it can burn quickly under the broiler.
  • Pick a high-quality dry red wine (nothing too sweet) such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.
Side shot of an easy coq au vin recipe served over mashed potatoes

More Stew Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of two bowls of easy coq au vin on a table with a side of baguette

Coq au Vin

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 35 minutes
Cook: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 750 kcal
Cozy up with a bowl of French chicken stew! This easy Coq au Vin recipe is a rich, flavorful combination of braised chicken in red wine with bacon, mushrooms, onion and herbs.

Ingredients
  

  • 4 slices bacon, diced
  • 3 ½ lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 8 thighs) or 1 (3-4 lb.) chicken, cut into pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 lb. peeled carrots, cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces and halved in thick parts
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 12 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Burgundy red wine (such as Pinot Noir)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In a large cast iron Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve the drippings in the pot.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken, skin-side down, until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  • Leave 2 tablespoons of drippings in the pot, then discard any extra fat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and mushrooms and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan by scraping up any browned bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add the stock, thyme, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Return the bacon and chicken (skin-side up) to the pot. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook at 350° F for about 40 – 50 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink.
  • Place the pot on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced by about half, approximately 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the butter and vinegar. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Remove bay leaf and thyme stems. Serve in individual bowls; garnish with fresh parsley.

Notes

  • Pat the chicken dry before seasoning and searing. Minimizing excess moisture helps the skin get crisp and brown in the pot.
  • Use bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces rather than boneless, skinless thighs or breasts. The skin and bones add flavor to the dish and help to prevent the meat from drying out.
  • While a whole cut-up chicken or rooster is most traditional, I prefer chicken thighs in this dish. The pieces are a uniform size, so they cook in the same amount of time. The dark meat on the thighs stays moist and juicy during the braising process, while white meat breasts have a tendency to become dry when cooked for too long.
  • If the chicken isn’t crispy enough for your liking when it comes out of the oven, you can place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes while you simmer the sauce. This will help the skin crisp up nicely! Just keep a close eye on the meat because it can burn quickly under the broiler.
  • Pick a high-quality dry red wine (nothing too sweet) such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the recipeCalories: 750kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 48gFat: 52gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 274mgSodium: 663mgPotassium: 1150mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 12948IUVitamin C: 14mgCalcium: 68mgIron: 3mg
Keyword: chicken coq au vin, coq au vin, easy coq au vin
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: French
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe. Excellent flavor and easier than I thought Coq au Vin would be. Over mashed potatoes and accompanied by a thick slice of buttered sourdough – thank you!