Coq au Vin

this is a classic French dish, usually made with a cockerel. If you can find one, let it cook for 20–30 minutes longer than specified below because the meat is slightly tougher than ordinary chicken. I like to use a whole bird that I joint myself, but drumsticks and thighs can be used if preferred.

Serves 4


  • 50g (4 tbsp) butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chicken, divided into 12 pieces
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 100g (4oz) streaky (fatty) bacon, cut into small strips
  • 300g (4 cups) button mushrooms, quartered or sliced
  • 20 baby (pearl) onions, peeled but left whole
  • 3 garlic gloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp tomato purée (paste)
  • 600ml (21⁄2 cups) red wine
  • 200ml (1 cup) Brown Chicken Stock
  • 3–4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Beurre manié, to thicken (see tip below)
  • Chopped flat leaf parsley, to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Place the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, fry the chicken pieces for
    2–3 minutes, until golden brown all over. Season well, then transfer to a casserole dish.
  3. Add the bacon to the empty pan and fry for 2 minutes, or until browned. Transfer to the casserole dish.
  4. Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic to the empty pan and cook for 4–5 minutes, until glazed and golden brown. Stir in the tomato purée, wine and stock, bring to the boil, then pour over the chicken in the casserole dish. Add the thyme and bay leaves, then cover and bake for 40–45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a plate, cover with kitchen foil and keep warm.
  6. Remove the thyme and bay leaves from the sauce, then bring it back to the boil. Add small pieces of the beurre manié to the boiling liquid (it is very important that the liquid is boiling or the sauce will be lumpy) and whisk rapidly until the sauce thickens. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  7. Return the chicken pieces to the casserole dish, stir gently to coat in the sauce and garnish with the parsley. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Tips and ideas

  • To make beurre manié, combine 35g (1⁄4 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour with 35g (21⁄2 tbsp) softened butter until it forms a thick paste. Whisk into sauces or soups near the end of the cooking process.
  • Using white wine instead of red wine will produce a lighter version of the dish