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Houston, TX
Just your atypical hispanic male living in the big city

Monday, July 16, 2012

A French Dinner - Coq Au Vain

A couple of weeks ago, I had my mother come over for a little vacation. It was great to have her over as she rarely gets the opportunity to come over and I don't have the time to go visit her back home from where I am originally from.

Throughout the week that she was here, I created various dishes that she would have normally never tried had I not thought of cooking them when I came home. On her final day of staying with us, I decided to have a send off. I opted to make a variety of French inspired dishes. Our menu included Mashed Potatoes with Parsley and Chives, Mixed Squash with Pancetta, Boeuf Bourguignon and of course, Coq Au Vain.

When I was searching for a great recipe, it was hard to decide if I wanted to go more classic or the quicker method. Of course, to make Classic Coq Au Vain, it would take a couple of days and you would use a rooster. I found one recipe that I thought was closest to the classic dish, but I did have to tweek it some since I was entertaining a couple of people (MC's parents and family) along with the guest of honor, my Mom.

For marinating the chicken:

1 tbsp salted butter

1 large onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp whole black pepper
1 16oz Burgundy wine
2 tbsp olive oil
12 pieces of chicken (using thighs and legs for richer flavor)

Combine the first seven ingredients into a large pot. Make sure that your veggies are coarsely chopped.

Add the Burgundy Wine to the vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil (high heat), reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 5 - 10 minutes. Once done, take off of the burner, allow to cool completely and then mix the oil into the mixture.


Place the chicken into a large pot. Notice that I am using a large dutch oven. If you have one, this would be ideal as I am able to cover this with the lid. Cover and refrigerate for at least a day. Keep in mind, I have decided to allow to marinade for 2 days. Also, you need to make sure that you turn the chicken every so often in order for the marinade to mix well with the chicken and veggies.


Actual cooking of the chicken:

1 tsp of olive oil
1 6oz pkg pancetta
1 6oz pkg proscuitto
2 - 3 cups of chicken broth
2 tbsp minced garlic
5 large sprigs of thyme
4 large parsley
1 lb of mushrooms (preferably wild, but make do with what you have)
2 pkgs frozen pearl onions (thawed)
2 med sized bay leaves
3 tbsp flour

So, its day 3 and I am ready to cook the Coq Au Vain. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature (or at least close to it). With some tongs, take the chicken out of the marinade. After you have done that, strain out the marinade from the veggies.

Take the pot where you have marinated the chicken, place onto the stove and bring to high heat. Add the olive oil. Add the pancetta and proscuitto to the heated oil. Cook this to a crisp. Take out of the pot and allow to drain. Some recipes call for a large slab of bacon and you would need to cut thick slices. I thought with the use of pancetta and proscuitto would be a nice touch.


Add the chicken skin side down and start to brown the individual pieces using the bacon drippings. After you have cooked all of the chicken place them off to the side. Don't worry about making sure if the chicken is cooked thru as you will continue to cook this dish.


Now that the chicken has been cooked, you may start to cook the veggies in the same pot. Start by using the veggies that were part of the marinade. Notice that I am using the same pot that we have cooked the pancetta/proscuitto and chicken in. Dice the mushrooms and add to the other vegetables as well. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes (mushrooms have cooked some). Add the pearl onions as well. Originally, this recipe called for fresh pearl onions (but this is more time consuming peeling them) and wild button mushrooms (don't have them at my local grocery store). Remember, I made due with what I had (and you have to as well).

While the vegetables are continuing to cook, you may start to add the flour. We are trying to create a simple sauce. Once you have added the flour, continue to stir when you notice that the mixture is a little thick (we are trying to cook out the flour). After 5 minutes, add the leftover marinade to the pot, slowly at a time. It will get a little thick. If it you need to add more liquid, use the chicken stock adding as needed.


Once the sauce has thickened, taste to see if you need to add any additional salt and/or pepper. Add the minced garlic along with additional chicken stock and pancetta/proscuitto. Continue to stir in order for everything to incorporate well.


Now return the chicken back to the pot. Continue to cook the Coq au Vain for at least 30 to 40 minutes. You also need to add the bay leaves as well along with the parsley and additional thyme. I have seen that some recipes make a bouquet of the herbs, but I thought it would be equally rich to have them chopped up (at least the parsley and thyme). Don't stir too much as you want the chicken to take in the rest of the flavors that you just cooked up.

This was a very time-consuming dish to make, but I have to admit this was not bad for the first time making this. There are some recipes in which you may want to cook this in the oven, but I had other items that I was cooking, so I became flexible enough to make this stove top.

This is one of those dishes that I would cook every once in a while, but once it is made, WOW! As you can tell, adding a sprig of parsley is a nice touch! Try this and impress your friends and family.


  1. Wow - you really put a lot of love into this dish, Izzy! I'm so impressed you took the time to marinade this for 2 days... I've wanted to try making Coq au Vain, but I'm pretty sure I'd opt for the short route ;)

    1. I know...I know...I sooo wanted to do the same thing, but of course I had to impress the parental unit! :)