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A Cozy Family Tradition: Coq Au Vin

Having just returned to The Hague from a long winter break, Morgan wants to share a bit of his Christmas experience with the rest of us. His family’s tradition is to enjoy coq au vin for the holidays, the classic French stew of chicken braised in red wine with mushrooms and bacon. Below is an easier, more accessible version of the recipe, just perfect for us students. However, despite the simplicity, Morgan assures this version is every bit as rich and delicious as the original coq au vin. 


This coq au vin recipe is by Kristen Stevens, based on that of Julia Child, as featured on The Endless Meal:

Notes and Tips:
  • Use chicken thighs and drumsticks rather than a whole chicken like the original version

  • Sprinkle the cooked bacon on top after the dish is cooked to preserve its crunchiness

  • The original recipe calls for a tomato, specifically a summer sun-ripened tomato. Our grocery store tomatoes are sad in comparison. To make up for that, use some tomato paste, which has a strong tomato flavor and can be caramelized a bit to add some sweetness.

  • Adding carrots, which are not in the original recipe, can make this more of a complete meal.

  • Traditional coq au vin is thickened with butter and flour (beurre manie), but that doesn't work with many modern diets. Options for traditional, paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free beurre manie are given below; choose the one that’s best for you.

What to serve with coq au vin?

There are so many options that can accompany the coq au vin. Pair it with carbs like mashed potatoes, pasta, or bread. Balance it out with a salad, or roasted vegetables like cauliflower and asparagus. 

What wine do you use in coq au vin?

Traditionally, coq au vin is made with a Burgundy wine, like a pinot noir. Lighter red wines like Tempranillo and Gamay Noir also work. The most important thing is to simply choose a wine that you like since it adds a lot of flavor to the dish. 

N.B. White wine can also be used to make coq au vin blanc, but make sure to avoid sweet white wines. White wines like Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc work well. 


  1. Place the chicken thighs and drumsticks in a medium-sized bowl and pour the wine, chicken stock, and (if using) the brandy over the top. Prep the vegetables.

4 chicken thighs, 4 chicken drumsticks, 1 ½ cups red wine, Optional: ¼ cup brandy, 1 cup chicken stock

2. Add the bacon to a large, high-sided pan or braiser over medium-high heat. Cook until the bacon is crispy, about 8 minutes, then remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon.

3. Remove the chicken from the wine marinade (save the wine) and dry the chicken with paper towels. Working in 2 batches if needed, place the chicken in the pan, skin side down. Sear until it is golden on both sides (about 5 minutes on each side) and then remove the chicken. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon/chicken oil into a heatproof dish and set it aside.

4. Add the sliced onion and carrots to the pan and let them cook until the onion is golden brown; about 7-8 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and let it cook for 1 minute.

5. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and add the tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste until it is fragrant and begins to darken. Pour the reserved wine marinade into the pan, scraping the bottom to remove any stuck-on bits.

6. Nestle the chicken into the pan and sprinkle the thyme over top. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes.

7. Pour 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil (or use olive oil) into a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until brown, about 10 minutes.

8. Add the pearl onions to the pan with the chicken and cook for 10 minutes more.

9. Remove the chicken from the pan, then add the beurre manie. Stir it into the sauce and let it thicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

10. Add the chicken back into the pan and top with the cooked bacon and mushrooms. Sprinkle in some fresh thyme.

Here's some extra info for the gym bros and gals or people who want to be aware of the nutritional values: 

  • Serving: 1 = ¼ of the recipe, 

  • Calories: 635kcal (32%)

  • Carbohydrates: 26g (9%), Protein: 40g (80%), Fat: 34g (52%), Saturated Fat: 10g (63%), Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g, Monounsaturated Fat: 14g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 194mg (65%), Sodium: 487mg (21%), Potassium: 1220mg (35%), Fiber: 5g (21%), Sugar: 10g (11%), Vitamin A: 10509IU (210%), Vitamin C: 14mg (17%), Calcium: 90mg (9%), Iron: 3mg (17%).

Bon appetit!

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