Coq au Vin is a classic French dish. It literally means “cock or rooster in wine” but today most people make it with chicken that is braised in wine with bacon, onions, carrots, and mushrooms. Sounds pretty easy? I made it last week and it was very easy. If there is one French dish you need to cook this one is it-a nice Burgundian country farm dish. Julia Child featured this recipe in her cooking show The French Chef on PBS and it is also found in her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. If you need help in how to make it and need visuals, YOU TUBE features Julia cooking and teaching how to make it and you can follow right along. I did that to make French Onion Soup the week before last. It’s also fun to see someone like Julia in the kitchen cooking without all the fanfare that you find in today’s cooking shows-(except of course, any PBS cooking shows-I am totally biased). It’s like watching your mom or grandma cook.
I followed two recipes side by side. One for technique (Julia Child) and the other because it was from a reader who wrote into Bon Appétit magazine and stated that they had eaten coq au vin in Paris and “she swears that the version at Bistro Zinc in Lenox, MA, was better.” Now that hooked me in. Both were very similar in the actual ingredients but the cooking methods were different. I will attach the links to see what you think.
In either case, I omitted rosemary (since I really am not a fan and Julia’s did not call for it). I also used legs, thighs, and a breast. Stick with thighs and legs, they just carry the depth of the flavors really well, but my husband loved the breast-so go ahead and use that if you want-but also add the dark meat too. I used less than the suggested 12 oz’s of bacon and instead used 3 slices. I felt like 12 oz’s would over-whelm the dish and you can automatically lower the sodium content that way too. Use a French red wine. Why add wine anyway? Wine was used in those peasant days to break down the toughness of the “rooster” so go ahead and use it for the chicken- that is what makes it very tender. I had a Côtes du Rhône left over from something else I made. Also, have a glass along with cooking it- at least have fun while cooking. I did not use Julia’s method of the butter-flour roux. The other recipe had the sauce simmer slowly down and reduce it to make a thick sauce. I also did not cook it in oven as the restaurant called for. I used Julia’s method of cook-top cooking. I really think that the combination of both recipes did the trick and after 25 years of cooking, experience has taught me to read between the lines in cooking but I like to think of myself cooking with imagination and that’s exactly what I did. It worked fantastique. Serve with mashers or rice. Parfait!
Links to the recipes: