Chicken Coq au Vin with a glass of red wine

Published on June 17th, 2013 | by Gareth


Coq au Vin – French cuisine & marketing original

We’ve been led to believe that the American’s (led by a Brit by the name of David Ogilvy) pioneered advertising and marketing. But I reckon the Frenchies have been all over marketing for ages. And here’s why.

French is a language made for cuisine, it brings sex appeal to the unassuming and agricultural. Coq au Vin is a good example given that translated, it means ‘rooster in wine’. And that’s not all, this dish even gets it’s own story (which may be true).

When Roman, Julias Caesar was fighting the stubborn Gauls (who resided in modern day France), the Gauls sent him a rooster, (I’m not sure whether this was an act of defiance or a mark of respect). Anyway they sent him an old scrawny rooster; to demonstrate the sophistication of Rome, Caesar had the bird slow cooked in red wine. And this is the origin of Coq au Vin.

I‘ve always had a soft spot for Coq au Vin, apart from having a fancy schmancy name (which incidentally also brings out the juvenile in me) it tastes sensational! It’s one of the all time classics of French cuisine.

And with a big rugby game to watch over the weekend (Lions v the Waratahs), Coq au Vin was an easy choice to impress my mates. Oh yes, I have come a long way from the days of a pint and a pie (with filling the temperature of liquid magma).  Yep, like Caesar I too am a little more sophisticated.

To get the best out of this dish buy an older free-range chicken (or rooster). Cut the legs and wings off. Then using the backbone as a guide cut the breast away. This will give you four decent sections of meat plus a carcass for stock.

Prep time: 50 minutes with homemade stock, 15 minutes without

Cooking time: 50 minutes


  • 1 large free-range chicken
  • 2 onions
  • 2 carrots
  • 6 baby onions or shallots – peeled
  • 15 button mushrooms – wiped clean with damp kitchen roll
  • Thyme – fresh
  • Parsley – fresh
  • 2-3 glasses red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • Knob of butter
  • 4 rashers of streaky rindless bacon – chopped
  • 2 tbsp. brandy
  • 3 cloves garlic – finely sliced


Making your own stock

  • Remove the breast meat, legs and wings from the chicken. Unlike an IKEA flat pack you shouldn’t be left with any extra pieces – except the carcass.
  • Pit the carcass in a pan and cover with water. Peel 1 of the onions and cut in half together with a few peppercorns, 1 dried bay leaf, a few sprigs or parsley and one carrot.
  • Bring to the boil, then simmer for 40 minutes, then set aside.
  • Of course you could just cheat and buy some, but I’m pretty certain it won’t taste as good and wont be half as satisfying.

To make the Coq au Vin

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  • Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the bacon. Fry for a few minutes until it starts to brown at the edges.
  • Remove the bacon from the pan and put it in a French oven (oven proof pot with a lid), leave the fat in the pan.
  • Cook the chicken piece in the fat (in the same pan) until a deep golden colour on each side; then put the chicken in with the bacon.
  • Peel and finely chop the remaining onion and carrot and fry in the pan with the baby onions and garlic for about 4-5 minutes. Then mix the onion into the dish with the chicken and bacon.
  • Deglaze the frying pan (whilst still hot) with the brandy. This will remove all of the sticky brown bits that are packed with flavor. Pour over the chicken
  • Finally add a few sprigs of parsley and thyme, 1 bay leaf, 2 glasses of red wine and 2-3 cups of your home made stock. Pop the lid on and stick it in the oven.
  • After 30 minutes take the pot out of the oven and stir in the mushrooms. Put back in the oven for a further 20 minutes.
  • When ready you may need to drain the liquid from the pot to the frying pan to reduce and thicken with 1 tsp. of corn flour. Some recipes call for creme fraiche but I prefer to let the roosters flavour speak or crow.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with a generous spoonful of mash potato.

Coq au Vin has a great story, Whats the best food origin story you’ve heard?

Browning chicken for Coq au Vin

Brown the chicken sections

Coq au Vin on a metal platter with bread

Bring on the wine and rugby

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About the Author

Englishman in Sydney loves a whisky, pies and all things savoury. Digital Marketer by day, cook the rest of the time. Amateur writer, photographer & aspiring anthropologists.

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