Quick-ish Coq au Vin

March 12th, 2012 · 12 Comments · Chicken and Turkey, Dinner

There are times that call for Julia Child’s Coq au Vin: Holidays. Birthdays. Someone special coming over. (I always knew my mom liked her dinner guests when I saw Mastering the Art of French Cooking splayed on our mustard-colored formica counter.) And there are times that call for the abbreviated version. Like two weeks after coming home from the hospital with our firstborn. Thanks to casserole-bearing well-wishers, we hadn’t cooked for ourselves for what seemed like years, but it was a cold Sunday night and we had some red wine begging to be put to use, and so we did what we’d do about eight thousand times in the next ten years: We took some shortcuts. We used chicken thighs instead of hacking up a whole chicken. We skipped the igniting of the cognac (and the cognac itself); Instead of making separate recipes for brown-braised onions and sauteed mushrooms, we just threw both into the pot with the chicken. The recipe we came up with and still make ten years later — unless someone special is coming over, in which case we stick with Julia’s — isn’t quite fast enough for a weeknight meal. But it’s just right for an easy Sunday family dinner. Especially the kind of Sunday family dinner when you forgot that soccer practice ends at 6:00 so you won’t be able to start browning or simmering anything until 6:30. The kind of Sunday dinner where you have to go back and forth from the stovetop to your eight-year-old’s bedroom in 10-minute stints because all day you promised you’d play school with her but never got around to it. In other words, the normal kinds of Sunday dinner.

Quick-ish Coq au Vin
We ate this with a green salad and a fresh baguette, but you’d probably be better off listening to Julia’s advice for sides. She recommends serving with buttered peas and parsley potatoes.

1 piece good quality bacon
3/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon mustard powder
salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 3/4 pounds chicken thighs
1 onion, chunked
2 garlic cloves, smushed, but still whole
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup red or white wine
1 cup sliced carrots (or more if your kids love these as much as mine)
1 bunch thyme, tied with string as shown
handful mushrooms, sliced

In a Dutch oven or large enamel pot, fry bacon over medium heat. Remove when crispy and chop into smallish pieces.

Add flour, mustard powder, salt and pepper to a large dinner plate and mix up with your fingers or a fork.

Add oil to the bacon fat in the Dutch oven. Raise heat to medium-high. Dredge* chicken in flour mixture then add to the pot and brown, in batches if necessary, about 3-4 minutes a side. (They do not have to be cooked through.) Remove to a plate and set aside.

Decrease heat to medium. Add onions and garlic to the pot and a little more salt and pepper. Stir until onions are slightly wilted, 3 minutes. Smush in tomato paste, then add chicken broth and wine and whisk until integrated.

Add chicken back to the pot along with bacon, carrots, thyme, and mushrooms. Chicken should be mostly immersed. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes until liquid cooks down a bit. (We probably only waited about 15 minutes because we were all so hungry and it was still delicious, if a little brothy.) Remove thyme and garlic cloves and serve.

*Dredge = Using your fingers or a fork, press chicken pieces into flour mixture until covered all over. Lift and shake off any excess flour.

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12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Meghan // Mar 12, 2012 at 9:45 am

    love the addition of the mustard powder to the dredging flour…I’m always trying to figure out how to use spices in the flour to make it more flavorful, and that’s not one I ever would have thought of. Will have to try this.

  • 2 Cecilia // Mar 12, 2012 at 10:18 am

    this sounds so yummy, and i love a one pot meal.

    i don’t know if you’re fans of Top Chef, but as soon as I read the title of this post, all I could hear was Tom Colicchio’s voice saying, “if it’s not coq au vin, don’t call it coq au vin.”

    (I love Tom, but that was definitely a “lighten up” moment.)

  • 3 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag // Mar 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    You had me at the quick-ish! This looks delightful, just the thing for the winter that is still holding on oh so tightly where we live….:)

  • 4 Michele // Mar 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks so much for posting! I LOVE coq qu vin and am always looking for a quicker version. Can’t wait to try it out.

  • 5 Alexis @ Therelished.com // Mar 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Can’t beat quick and delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  • 6 Susan // Mar 14, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Made this for dinner last night. It was enjoyed by all, but my carrots weren’t cooked through. I used the bagged sliced carrots, so they were pretty thin. I think next time I’d throw them in with the onions.

  • 7 Jenny // Mar 14, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Susan – That’s surprising. I’m sorry about that. How thin were they sliced? I used baby carrots and 15 minutes was more than enough simmering time to make them tender.

  • 8 Andrea // Mar 15, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    We did this last night, it was amazing — (though I’m with Susan, the carrots weren’t quite that super soft, simmering all day in stew kind of consistency, though they didn’t feel crunchy/raw at all).

    Anyway, this was great and I’d certainly make it again.

  • 9 Work Accident Lawyer // Mar 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Oh this looks amazing! I’m going to make it for dinner tonight! Thank you for sharing! :)

  • 10 Libby // Mar 16, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Love it! I find myself making a version of this very often. Although I know it’s not the traditional version…I often make it with white wine as well. Gasp!!

  • 11 Evi // Apr 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    A group of us bloggers do The Food Matters Project, and last week was coq au vin, Mark Bittman’s recipe- with more veggies. Keep that in mind next time you make it.

  • 12 Lindsey // Sep 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    I’m making this tomorrow night! It’s my birthday and our babysitter is a friend, so we’ll all have dinner together and then my husband and I will go out. We live in Zurich, so pretty much we can only afford drinks out and not an overpriced (and over-salted) meal. Fine by me! This meal is quick-ish. And we will go for drinks in a fancy bar instead and we still get to eat with our daughter. Win! Win! Win! YAY!

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