Coq au Vin


Bold & Healthy Flavors

Published by Black Dog & Leventhal

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Coq au vin (chicken cooked in red wine) was one of the first dishes I ever learned to cook. The place was La Varenne Cooking School in Paris. The year was 1976 and no one seemed to care about how much butter or bacon fat you used in order to obtain rich flavors. As my eating became more healthful over the years, I forgot about coq au vin. Perhaps it’s time to revive a classic. Here’s a low-fat coq au vin that uses lean Canadian bacon in place of the traditional belly bacon. (Be sure to trim off any visible fat.) I’ve also increased the proportion of vegetables to the meat. I dedicate this recipe with affection to La Varenne’s founder, Anne Willan.

NotesWhen cutting up a whole chicken, I like to leave a 2-inch piece of breast meat attached to each wing. This makes the wing section a more generous portion. By using 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, instead of a whole chicken, you can reduce the calories per serving to 504, the fat to 11 grams, and the saturated fat to 2 grams.

Serves4 heartily. Makes a light lunch for 6 to 8

Cooking Methodsauteeing


Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together, Formal Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free


Taste and Textureherby, meaty, savory, winey


  • 1 3½- to 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 equal-size pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ounce sliced Canadian bacon (2 to 3 slices), cut into 1-inch by ¼-inch slivers
  • 4 shallots, minced (about ¼ cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups dry red wine, or as needed (you don’t need an expensive Burgundy, but use a wine that you would drink)
  • 1 bouquet garni of bay leaf, thyme, and parsley
  • 24 baby onions, peeled
  • 16 baby carrots
  • ½ pound button mushrooms, trimmed
  • ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


  1. Remove the skin from the chicken and trim off any visible pieces of fat. Wash the chicken and blot dry. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and toss with the flour in a mixing bowl.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick sauté pan. Brown the chicken in the oil over medium heat, turning the pieces with tongs, working in several batches as needed to avoid crowding the pan. Transfer the chicken to a platter lined with paper towels. Brown the bacon in the same pan and transfer to the platter. Pour off any fat and rinse and dry the pan.

  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the pan and add the shallots and garlic. Cook over medium low heat until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes, stirring often.

  4. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the wine and bouquet garni and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dissolve any congealed pan juices. Reduce the heat and gently simmer the chicken for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off any fat that may rise to the surface with a spoon.

  5. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Cook the baby onions in 1 quart rapidly boiling salted water until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onions with a slotted spoon to a colander to drain. Cook the carrots in the same water until tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer the carrots to the colander with a slotted spoon. Cut any large mushroom caps in quarters; medium-size caps in half; leave the small ones whole. Boil the mushrooms until tender, about 1 minute, and transfer to the colander.

  6. Add the onions, carrots, mushrooms, and Canadian bacon to the coq au vin. Continue simmering until the chicken is cooked and tender and the sauce is reduced and well flavored, about 10 minutes more. The total cooking time will be 30 to 40 minutes. Correct the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste. Discard the bouquet garni. Just before serving, transfer the coq au vin to a platter and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.


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