Coq Au Vin Blanc

The title sounds fancy, right? It’s French and all. But the truth is, this dinner couldn’t be simpler.

Coq Au Vin (4)

Want to impress a dinner guest by making a fancy dish that tastes like you slaved over the stove all day, without all the fuss? This is your game.

Almost all the recipes you see call for red wine, but I like it better with white. It’s a visual thing. I’m sure red wine makes a fine coq au vin, but purple chicken doesn’t look that appetizing. Cooking chicken low and slow in some wine in the oven with some aromatic vegetables and herbs makes it absolutely heavenly. The meat stays juicy when you braise it, and the juices that do run out of it mix with the wine and make a velvety rich sauce. (Don’t worry, heat cooks the alcohol out of the wine.) You’ll seriously be amazed how easy it is to get this dinner on the table. And now that weather is turning cool, this is the perfect weekend dinner.

Coq Au Vin Blanc (serves 4 generously)

  • 1 four-pound whole chicken (or 1 whole chicken already cut up, about 4 pounds)
  • 2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tb bacon fat (or sub olive oil)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • about a handful of parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 cups of decent white wine, not too sweet (I used Riesling)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Pre-heat oven to 325. Cut up the chicken if it’s whole. Pat dry. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and bacon fat in a large dutch oven on medium heat. Put the pieces of chicken in the pot, skin side down. If you cannot fit it all in the pot at one time in one layer, work in batches. Brown the skin in the hot oil until it’s golden brown. Turn the pieces over and brown the other side. Once the chicken is all browned, remove to a plate. Turn up the heat to medium high. Pour 1 cup of the wine in the pot and scrape up the bits of chicken and skin stuck to the bottom of the pot with a spoon. Cook for a minute or so. Add the vegetables, parsley, thyme and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Add the chicken pieces back to the pot and the remaining cup of wine. Bring the pot back to a boil. Remove from the stove top and place in the oven with a lid. Braise an hour and half to two hours. Remove from the oven when the chicken is tender and cooked through. Let rest on the stove top with the lid on for ten minutes before serving to allow sauce to thicken a bit.

Coq Au Vin

It’s important to pat the chicken skin dry to get the golden brown skin. Make sure your chicken is in a single layer.

Coq Au Vin (3)

Add the wine and bring back up to a boil before putting it in the oven. Your house will smell amazing and your stomach will be growling. I guarantee it.

Coq Au Vin (6)

Finally, it’s done and you can put it on the table and look all smug while your dining companion raves about how amazing it is. Or, if you’re all by yourself, pat yourself on the back at this fancy French dinner you just made and fantasize about the leftovers in your lunch the next day.

Making this dish really takes about 25 minutes or less of active cooking time, the oven does all the heavy lifting for you. The wine gives it such a rich and decadent element that makes it seem way fancier than it really is. It’s hard to mess up braising. You’d be remiss not to try this on a lazy Sunday for dinner. Makes me wonder why I don’t do it more often.

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