Coq au Vin – Chicken in Red Wine

Coq au Vin with 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir
Coq au Vin – Chicken in Red Wine – Featuring 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir Wines!
Please note: The content of this post has been sponsored by 90+ Cellars. All opinions are our own.

This month we have partnered with 90+ Cellars to bring you a delicious wine and food pairing complemented by two great wines from 90+ Cellars: Lot 179 Pinot Noir and Lot 75 Pinot Noir (reserve). We paired these incredible wines with a classic wine-based recipe – Coq au Vin (chicken cooked in red wine) – and we know you will love our take on this classic dish!

What is Coq au Vin?

Coq au Vin is a classic French dish from Burgundy. It involves cooking chicken in red or white wine – sounds irresistible already right?

The chicken is braised in wine along with herbs and some vegetables. This results in a luscious, delicious, and tender pieces of chicken that literally fall off the bone! The wine and cooking liquid turn into a delectable sauce, making this the perfect dish to comfort the soul!

History of Coq au Vin

Julia Child popularized this dish on her television show in the 1960s, but coq au vin had been around for quite some time before this. How long? Well, like most classic dishes, that is debatable.

So that leads us to the “coq” part of this dish….

Coq au Vin
Coq au Vin is a classic French recipe popularized by Julia Child

“Coq au vin” literally translates to “rooster with wine.” So, think an old rooster that has no use any longer but to be eaten. Old roosters are very tough – and you won’t find one in a grocery store for that reason. But back in the day, the solution to this was to braise it in something delicious and widely available in the Burgundy region of France – wine of course!

Braising has probably been around for many centuries. There really isn’t a definitive “invention” of the technique and, if there were, I would contest that I bet it had been done by accident hundreds of years prior to that. Braising is best for tough cuts of meat, but it can also be an amazing way to transform certain vegetables as well.

Today we use tender chickens. Obviously, we don’t need to cook a nice tender chicken as long as one would have in the 1800’s with an old rooster! But the technique still works very well – especially on the dark meat of a chicken.

Fast forward to how the dish has evolved. Now, most versions use chicken, often the whole chicken cut into its individual parts and cooked in a nice little wine bath. By adding some ingredients that are readily available, like great herbs, mushrooms and onions, the French have an amazing dish that is served alone as a stew or with potatoes, root vegetables or almost anything!

Simple, but complex, basic, genius and classic. All these terms apply here. The chicken turns out so tender and flavorful, and literally falls off the bone! If you’ve never tried this dish, you must.

Our take on Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin
Our take on Coq au Vin highlights all the things you love about the original with a few tweaks making this version unforgettable!

After making this classic dish a few ways, we found what we liked the most in the recipe below. By twisting and tweaking classic ingredients and adjusting for the wide array of ingredients that we have available to us, we found this version to be unforgettable!

By the way, most people have so many more available ingredients than when this dish was conceived. And it makes sense that we progress this amazing classic to the heights it was destined for. And that is exactly what we hope we accomplished here.

What cuts of meat are best?

Because braising is such a great technique that results in tender juicy pieces of chicken that will fall right off the bone, we chose to make this with hindquarters (thighs and legs) of the chicken, exclusively. No chicken breast meat or wings here – and for good reason. Although it works and is tasty, it just isn’t as good and does dry out due to the lack of fat and connective tissue on these cuts.

The dark meat on the chicken thighs and legs is so much more flavorful and doesn’t dry out. This is why it is our choice for Coq au Vin.

How to get that crispy golden chicken skin 

Another revelation for us really had to do with presentation, at first, but led us to a massive flavor enhancer. We are talking about that crispy golden skin!

Making this dish in the traditional way will produce a wine-colored chicken hindquarter that is full of flavor but has a soggy piece of skin attached to it. No one likes soggy skin!

To save this flavorful part of this dish, we add a bit of olive oil and broil the chicken hindquarters skin side up for a few minutes after braising. We then reduce the liquid a bit more to make the sauce slightly thicker to serve over the chicken. The skin is now perfect for eating with that crispy texture everyone craves!

Coq au Vin with Crispy Golden Skin
The crispy golden skin brings extra flavor to our version of Coq au Vin

What type of mushrooms are best for Coq au Vin? 

Using white mushrooms is traditional but the small cremini or baby bella (or “brown”) mushrooms will yield a deeper flavor that will be much appreciated in the final dish. Also, keeping the mushrooms whole will result in great flavor and texture, as well as a really nice presentation for the final plated dish.

The treatment of the mushrooms is a vital part of this dish. Just throwing them in the pot with the chicken is not the answer – I can assure you. For best results, cook them separately and add them to the dish later like we do in this recipe

Don’t forget the herbs!

Individual taste is the most important thing with this dish. We’d like to share a few tidbits on making a special Coq au Vin that really make a difference.

Traditionally, bouquet garni in this dish includes bay leaves, parsley, and fresh thyme. We kept this the same for our dish. We did however add rosemary for a small amount of the braising time. The added flavor from the rosemary does wonders and really complements the flavor profile of the chicken.

Other important ingredients

Adding carrots balances the sauce and gives this dish an added element. Even if you are frequently proclaim “I don’t like cooked carrots,” it is well worth doing for the flavor of the sauce and you can eat around them if you wish, or if you are under 4-years-old. We joke!

Coq  au Vin
Coq au Vin with Parmesan Peppercorn Mashed Potatoes

We prefer to use boiler onions over pearl onions for a few reasons. First, boiler onions are slightly larger so they withstand the long cooking time of this dish a bit better. We found that pearl onions often disintegrate or fall apart and lose their texture in this dish. We wanted onions that still looked like onions at the end of the cooking process, so the slightly larger boiler onions are our preference.

Also, boiler onions are not quite as sweet as the pearl onions, and with the addition of carrots to this dish, we prefer that the onions are not quite as sweet.

Lastly, we decided to use pancetta as opposed to bacon. Most recipes typically call for bacon, but we prefer the flavor of pancetta because it is not smoked. Feel free to use bacon or pancetta here, though, whichever is available.

What should you serve with Coq au Vin?

Don’t forget the sides! The side dish can be anything you want, but we found that mashed potatoes are especially delightful with Coq au Vin. The juice the chicken braises in turns into something between a sauce and a gravy and is so packed full of flavor that it needs a companion. The best gravy/sauce wingman that we know of is mashed potatoes.

  • 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir Wines

Wine Pairing

Any great recipe is not complete without the wine! 90+ Cellars has so many options for great wines to pair with any meal. A meal like this Coq au Vin, that is literally cooked in wine, needs something similar in profile to match its flavors. We went with the 90+ Cellars Lot 179 Pinot Noir and the Lot 75 Pinot Noir from their reserve collection to give two options to match your price point. Both of these wines are fantastic pinots that pair perfectly with this Coq au Vin dish.

Lot 75 Pinot Noir (reserve)
90+ Cellars Lot 75 (reserve) Pinot Noir

The Lot 179 Pinot Noir is the perfect easy-drinking everyday red wine. It is slightly fruity with hints of blueberries and raspberries, yet perfectly balanced with notes of flowers and spice. It can take on the wintery flavors in this Coq au Vin like a charm!

The Lot 75 Pinot Noir is our favorite to pair with this Coq au Vin recipe. Especially if you prefer a bit more complexity in your wine with bold expressive flavors that bring out the broad range of herbs and flavors in this dish. Lot 75 is scented with black cherries and cocoa and has notes of cedar and violets. It is a fantastic wine that will not disappoint!


Try this tasty and amazing Coq au Vin recipe and you’ll be rewarded, especially when paired with great wines like these from 90+ Cellars! Enjoy!

Coq au Vin with 90+ Cellars Pinot Noir
Coq au Vin – Chicken in Red Wine

If you like this recipe for Coq au Vin, let us know in comments below. Or share your recipes on social media and tag us @cooking_with_wine!

Don’t forget to check out some of our other popular recipes below:

Coq au Vin – Chicken in Red Wine

5 from 4 votes
Recipe by Angela and Mark Course: MainCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium


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Cooking time




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The chicken is braised in wine, along with herbs and some vegetables resulting in a luscious, delicious, and tender pieces of chicken that literally fall off the bone!


  • Boquet Garni
  • 2 2 bay leaves

  • 6 6 sprigs of thyme

  • 4 4 parsley stems (leaves and stems included)

  • Pre-Cook
  • 4 oz 4 diced pancetta (113 g)

  • 20 20 white boiler onions (300 g)

  • Make the Chicken
  • 4 4 chicken hindquarters, bone in, skin on (legs and thighs) about 3 lbs

  • 6 tbsp 6 butter (divided into 3 tbsp and three 1 tbsp portions)

  • 1 cup 1 medium carrots, cut into ¾ inch segments (110 g)

  • 1 tbsp 1 + 1 tsp all purpose flour

  • 3 tbsp 3 brandy

  • 1 bottle 1 full-bodied dry red wine (Burgundy or Pinot Noir)

  • 1 tsp 1 salt

  • 1 tsp 1 pepper

  • 22 22 whole baby bella mushrooms (250 g)

  • 1 1 2-inch sprig of rosemary

  • 2 tbsp 2 olive oil

  • Fresh chopped parsley – to garnish


  • Take the ingredients under bouquet garni and add them to an herb satchel, cheese cloth, or tie together using kitchen twine. Set aside.
  • Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, place onions in, then reduce heat to medium for 8 minutes. Prepare a bowl of ice water to shock the onions when done. Remove from water shock the onions in ice water to quickly cool. Cut off root end of onions and gently peel the outer layer. Set aside.
  • In the same pot as the onions, discard the water and refill with cold water and add pancetta. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer on low for 6 minutes. Remove the pancetta to a paper towel lined plate to drain and add to the onions.
  • The first 3 steps can be done hours in advance if desired.
  • In a large deep heavy pot, or dutch oven, melt 3 tbsp butter. Add the onions, carrots and pancetta and cook on medium heat until the onions begin to brown stirring often (approximately 5-6 minutes). Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.
  • Add 1 tbsp of butter to the pot and melt over medium heat. Add the chicken to the pot skin side down and brown the skin side (approximately 4-5 minutes). Add the flour to the pot, then turn over for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Pour in brandy. Carefully, with a long matchstick or lighter, catch the brandy on fire. Make sure your range hood fan is turned on and remove any flammable items away from cooking area. Allow the fire to burn out completely on its own (approximately 30s).
  • Add a small portion of the wine to deglaze the pot – 30 seconds.
  • Add the rest of the wine, onions, carrots, pancetta, bouquet garni, salt and pepper to pot and gently stir to combine.
  • Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to simmer and allow to cook slowly for 1 hour.
  • While the chicken cooks, heat a skillet on medium high and add 1 tablespoon of butter to melt. Add the mushrooms and sauté until browned on both sides. This should take about 7 minutes or so. Remove from heat and add to the chicken 10 minutes prior to the chicken being done (at the 50-minute mark). Add the rosemary to the pot and continue to cook on low for the final 10 minutes.
  • Once one hour has passed, remove the chicken to a broiling pan – skin side up.
  • Uncover the pot for the remainder of the cooking time. Remove the bouquet garni and rosemary sprig and discard. Raise heat to medium high and begin reducing the liquid by half. This should take between 4 and 8 minutes.
  • While the sauce reduces, turn oven to broil and gently coat the skin of the chicken with the olive oil. Broil for a couple of minutes – checking often – to brown and crisp the skin without burning it. Remove and set aside.
  • Once sauce is done, remove from heat for one minute. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed. Stir in the remaining 1 tbsp of butter until fully incorporated.
  • Plate chicken and side dish if you have one and sauce the dish. Garnish with chopped parsley.

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Join the Conversation

  1. I love that recipe so much. Made your coq au vin today and everybody loved it. My hubby said it’s like a special Christmas dinner dish . That sauce and that crispy chicken is to die for. Fabulous recipe.

    1. Angela and Mark Author says:

      Thank you!! So happy to hear how much you enjoyed it!

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