Chicken with Red Wine Sauce

Sometimes Called Coq au Vin

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


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Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

An authentic coq au vin is almost unheard of nowadays, since roosters aren’t easy to come by and are of questionable quality when they can be found. The traditional blood finish for the sauce is illegal for restaurants in most states.

What we usually eat instead of coq au vin is chicken with red wine sauce. But the inherent problem with cooking chicken in red wine is that a regular chicken cooks too fast for the wine’s tannins to soften and for the flavors of the braising liquid to meld into something tasty and complex. The secret is to make a stock with chicken parts and red wine, and then use this liquid to cook the chicken.


red wine chicken stock 2 qt 2 L
chicken, 1, quartered 4 lb 2 kg
butter 2 oz 60 g
mushrooms, quartered if large 10 oz 300 g
pearl onions, peeled 1 cup 250 ml
water or chicken stock as needed as needed
thickly sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1 × ¼-inch (2.5 cm × 5 mm) strips 6 oz 170 g
butter (for bound sauce; optional) 2 oz 60 g
parsley, finely chopped at the last minute 2 tbsp 30 ml
salt and pepper to taste to taste


  1. Simmer the stock, skimming any froth or scum that floats to the surface, until only 2 cups (500 milliliters) remain.
  2. Brown the chicken on both sides in 1 ounce (30 grams) of the butter for about 10 minutes on each side in a large sauté pan over medium to high heat. Take out the chicken, discard the fat in the pan, and put the chicken back in along with the reduced stock. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Sauté the mushrooms in the remaining 1 ounce (30 grams) butter. Set aside.
  4. Glaze the onions with enough water or stock to come halfway up their sides. Set aside.
  5. Render the bacon until crisp. Drain; set aside.
  6. Take the chicken out of the braising liquid as soon as it’s firm to the touch and keep it warm while cooking down the liquid in the pan to about 1 cup (250 milliliters).
  7. You can serve the chicken in heated soup plates (this allows for the sauce to remain unbound) and spoon over sauce, mushrooms, bacon, and onions, or you can reduce the braising liquid to ½ cup (125 milliliters) and whisk in the butter, if using. Sprinkle with parsley and season with salt and pepper.