The daddy of old school chicken dishes.
Coq au vin is simple, homely and hearty, great for lazy rainy days and boozy Sunday afternoons with friends. And the homemade article beats the shop bought variety by a country mile, whether sous vide or conventionally cooked.
Now, in me making this recipe I had a lot of trouble getting hold of the required meat. Because (and I’m trying my best to put this politely) there’s just no easy way for a girl to ask her butcher for a cock. There, I said it.
You can imagine the conversation I had with poor Jason at Udale, the man deserves a medal for trying to keep a straight face. But come up trumps he did, and if you can get hold of the same then I’d urge you to do so, though chicken is obviously a perfectly good alternative.
Coq au vin has a ton of provenance and differing takes on how to make the real deal, but at its heart it’s essentially a rich combination of ingredients including red wine, mushrooms, lardons, thyme, bay, onions and garlic. Classic French peasant cooking at its best.
The meat if conventionally cooked is slow braised until the flesh is meltingly tender, the sous vide version cooks the meat gently until it's juicy and succulent and scented with the rich sauce. Both methods yield excellent results, but the sous vide really is something else — what it does to the meat in keeping it super juicy and delicious is simply outstanding. If you’re on the lookout to buy your own sous vide wizardry you should check out sousvidetools.com, I can’t recommend the guys and their kit highly enough.
Whichever way you decide to cook it, you’ll thank me for serving it with a ridiculously high butter content mashed potato. Rice or mash it until as smooth and fine as can be, open a bottle of red and get stuck in.
- 1 cock or chicken, jointed into 2 breasts (on the bone) with wings attached, and 2 legs
- 200g button mushrooms
- 1 bottle (preferably French) red wine, I used a Burgundy
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
- 10 small onions / shallots
- 200g smoked lardons in large dice
- 600mls chicken stock
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 4 bay leaves
- Fresh parsley to serve, finely chopped
- Mashed potato laced with butter to serve
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Olive oil
- Oil for frying
- 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Unsalted butter
- Vegetable oil
- A couple of tablespoons plain flour
Sous vide method
- Place into a saucepan the wine (save 1 glass), garlic, lardons, stock, bay, carrots, celery and bring to the simmer.
- While that’s happening, brown the peeled onions/shallots in butter, and once done, set aside.
- Cook the marinade for about 25 minutes until it’s reduced in its consistency and the wine has cooked off — this is very important for SV cooking as alcohol trapped in the bag with nowhere to go doesn’t yield a great result. Leave the mixture to cool.
- Preheat your sous vide to 66.6°C.
- Salt and pepper the jointed chickens and place them into separate pouches, then distribute the onions and fresh thyme sprigs among them evenly.
- Pour the sauce into the bags, evenly distributing it again, and seal them on a hard vacuum (you might want to freeze the liquid first to make sealing it easier, whichever method works for you.
- Cook in the sous vide for 12 hours, then remove and chill down.
- Preheat your oven to 180°C.
- Once cooled, open the pouches and remove the chicken, patting the skin dry with kitchen paper and reserving all the liquid in a saucepan. Remove the thyme sprigs and put on to simmer, adding the last glass of red wine to the pot.
- Mix enough unsalted butter into the plain flour until combined and add this to the saucepan, stir until combined and season the pot to taste. Let it sit and simmer until the chicken is ready.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place a large knob of butter and some vegetable oil into a frying pan, once it starts foaming add the chicken skin side down and fry for around 6 to 8 minutes, until the skin is colouring golden brown. Move the chicken around in the pan to get all the sides of the skin browned, then finally cook it flesh side down for another 6 to 8 minutes.
- Carefully remove from the pan and place skin side up on a baking sheet, and bake in the oven to bring the core temperature up, for around 10 minutes.
- Into the pan the chicken has been cooking add another knob of butter and the button mushrooms, fry until browned on all sides.
- Serve on top of the buttery mash and ladle over the sauce, finishing with the button mushrooms and chopped fresh parsley.
- Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown the chicken on all sides in foaming butter and a little vegetable oil until golden brown (do in batches, you don’t want a crowded pan), then place into a deep saucepan.
- Into the same frying pan used for the chicken, add a bit more butter and the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and lardons (again in batches so they don’t steam) and fry for around 8 minutes, colouring the edges. Add to the saucepan with the chicken.
- Add to the saucepan the bay, thyme, wine, stock and flour.
- Bring to the simmer uncovered and once simmering, reduce the temperature and place a lid on the pot, continuing to cook for 1 hour.
- After an hour carefully remove the chicken and with the lid off the pan, place onto a rapid boil, add the mushrooms and let it cook down, reducing and thickening the sauce, this will take around 15 minutes.
- 5 minutes before serving place the chicken back into the pan to heat through, then serve on top of the buttery mash, scatter with parsley and eat.