Coq au Vin

Recipe from 'Foolproof French Cookery’ by Raymond Blanc. Click here to purchase book. 

This dish demonstrates what is really good about French cuisine – conviviality, friends and laughter, simple hearty food, rustic bread dipped into the sauce and the heady red wine that will be drunk. Time stops. That is why this dish has become totally timeless and loved by most. Despite a certain degree of complication, it is a must for a fantastic dinner party.

MAIN FFC Coq Au Vin 

Ingredients Required

1.5kg Chicken, (free range or organic), cut into 10 pieces (ask your butcher to prepare this)
1 heaped tbsp Plain flour
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 pinches Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the marinade
1 litre Full-bodied red wine, such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon
3 Medium carrots, cut into slanted slices 1 cm (1/2 in) thick
2 Celery sticks, cut into slices 1 cm (1/2 in) thick
20 Baby onions, peeled but left whole
1 Bouquet garni (parsley stalks, 2 bay leaves, 6 sprigs thyme tied together)
1 tsp Black peppercorns, crushed
For the garnish
1 tbsp Olive oil
200g Smoked streaky bacon, rind removed, diced
400g Small button mushrooms, trimmed
1 tbsp Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cooking Method

Marinating the chicken

Bring the red wine to the boil and boil until reduced 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.

Toasting the flour

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.

Frying the chicken

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.

Making the sauce

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.

Finishing the sauce

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. Pour the sauce back over the chicken and vegetables.

Cooking the garnish

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.

 

Foolproof French Cookery

Recipe from 'Foolproof French Cookery' by Raymond Blanc, published by BBC Worldwide Ltd.

Click here to purchase book.

Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2002.

Photograph © Jean Cazals 2002.