Coq au Vin

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Beautiful grande houses of France

“Ghosts, like ladies, never speak until spoken to.”
Richard Harris Barham, Cleric & Novelist, 1788 – 1845

Each year we stay in grande, French houses, beautifully renovated by their current owners and frequented by their past ones. And the house in the grounds of Château La Favière was no exception. Despite our downstairs bedroom being south facing, it was always cold. I had to sleep with the side light on and frequently woke up feeling my cheek being gently stroked. Despite being ridiculed, no-one would swap with me. It wasn’t until the end of the holiday when we were tidying up, that I had found the ‘Welcome Folder’. In it was the full story of how the Madame of the house had lived there since birth and had her bed brought down to her favourite sunny room facing the courtyard, to end her days at the age of 90.

But don’t let that put you off this wonderful recipe for Coq au Vin. Try to put the red wine in it rather than using it as medication for insomnia…….

Coq au Vin

Serves 8
1.4kg (3lbs) chicken thighs, without skin is better * 1 bottle of 750ml red wine * 2 bay leaves * 2 thyme sprigs * 255g (9oz) bacon, diced * 55g (2oz) butter * 20 pickling onions * 1 tsp olive oil * 30g (1oz) plain flour * 1.15 ltr (2 pints) chicken stock * 125ml (4 floz) brandy * 2 tsp tomato purée * 2 tbsp parsley chopped * salt & freshly ground black pepper

Put the chicken, wine, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl. Cover and leave to marinate for 2 hours, or preferably overnight. Dry fry the bacon in a frying-pan until golden and lift out onto a plate. Melt 15g (½oz) of the butter in the frying-pan, add the onions and sauté until brown. Lift these out onto the same plate as the bacon. Set aside.

Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade and pat the chicken dry. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining butter to the frying-pan and sauté until golden. Stir in the flour. Transfer the chicken to a large saucepan or casserole dish and add the chicken stock. Pour the brandy into the frying-pan and boil, stirring for 30 seconds to deglaze the pan. Pour over the chicken. Add the marinade, onions, mushrooms, bacon and tomato purée. Cook over a medium heat for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.

This recipe comes from the section THE FRENCH CONNECTION, a selection of authentic French recipes.


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