Coq au Vin

Total Time:
13 hr
1 hr
8 hr
4 hr

4 to 6 servings


Cut off the root end of each pearl onion and make an "x" with your knife in its place. Bring 2 to 3 cups of water to a boil and drop in the onions for 1 minute. Remove the onions from the pot, allow them to cool, and then peel. You should be able to slide the onions right out of their skin. Set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken on all sides with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the chicken pieces, a few at a time, into a large (1 or 2-gallon) sealable plastic bag along with the flour. Shake to coat all of the pieces of the chicken. Remove the chicken from the bag to a metal rack.

Add the 2 tablespoons of water to a large, 12-inch saute pan over medium heat along with the salt pork. Cover and cook until the water is gone, and then continue to cook until the salt pork cubes are golden brown and crispy, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the salt pork from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, using the remaining fat, add the pearl onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and saute until lightly brown, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. Next, brown the chicken pieces on each side until golden brown, working in batches if necessary to not overcrowd the pan. Transfer the chicken into a 7 to 8-quart enameled cast iron Dutch oven.

Add the mushrooms to the same 12-inch saute pan, adding the 1 tablespoon of butter if needed, and saute until they give up their liquid, approximately 5 minutes. Store the onions, mushrooms and pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pour off any remaining fat and deglaze the pan with approximately 1 cup of the wine. Pour this into the Dutch oven along with the chicken stock, tomato paste, quartered onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Add all of the remaining wine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the chicken in the oven and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the chicken is tender. Maintain a very gentle simmer and stir occasionally.

Once the chicken is done, remove it to a heatproof container, cover, and place it in the oven to keep warm. Strain the sauce in a colander and remove the carrots, onion, celery, thyme, garlic, and bay leaf. Return the sauce to the pot, place over medium heat, and reduce by 1/3. Depending on how much liquid you actually began with, this should take 20 to 45 minutes.

Once the sauce has thickened, add the pearl onions, mushrooms, and pork and cook for another 15 minutes or until the heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, remove from the heat, add the chicken and serve. Serve over egg noodles, if desired.

Cook’s Note: If the sauce is not thick enough at the end of reducing, you may add a mixture of equal parts butter and flour kneaded together. Start with 1 tablespoon of each. Whisk this into the sauce for 4 to 5 minutes and repeat, if necessary.

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Pairs Well With

Jammy, earthy red wine

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    144 Reviews
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    This was the best I've ever had. The work/effort involved is well worth it, making this recipe a grand slam!
    By far the best Coq au Vin I have ever made. I tried other recipes, but this one is the very best. 
    I admit it is a little work, but well worth the effort. A great do ahead dinner for those special guests you want to impress.
    Love this recipe. I followed it exactly except to debone the chicken before adding back to the sauce. Served it over pureed cauliflower/celeriac creamed with creme fraiche and topped with swiss chard wilted with one garlic clove grated into lemon juice. My house smells wonderfully, and my husband is still groaning at the deliciousness. This is a keeper.
    Delicious. Made it on a Sunday, marinated for just a few hours. The chicken was very tender and flavorful.
    I am currently enjoying the smells of a house filled with aromatic delight. I saw this recipe for the first time three days ago on Good Eats. I had to write it down. Anything that takes the labor and difficulty of French cuisine and bring it to a manageable level is enough for me to try it. I have my parents coming over tonight to indulge in this wonderment with my wife and I.
    Gastronomic pleasure! My husband and I enjoyed everything about this dish, from the aromatic sensation throughout the house to the last savory smooth delicious bite! Well worth the trouble on a cold winter night.
    My new favorite meal. It doesn't say it in the recipe but you should add tomato paste to the wine when you deglaze.
    Another winner from Alton. I made this recipe last weekend for our neighbors, everyone loved it. I didn't have any tomato paste so I left it out and it still came out AMAZING! As another reviewer said, I used cheese cloth for the carrots, celery etc which made it easy to grab and dispose of without straining. I also used bacon instead of the salt pork, tasted great. I served it with Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes and a green salad. Thank you Alton!
    Worked on this recipe for a while. It's a lot of work but worth it. Learned too late I was out of chicken broth. Used vegetable broth instead and the next day added chicken broth just prior to reduction. I will definitely make this again when I want to show off my cooking talents.
    Wonderful! I used cabernet sauvignon, but only had room in the pot for 1 bottle. The only complaint from the family was that they couldn't eat it the first day since I was making the house smell so good. Chicken fell right off the bone so I served it more like a stew over mashed potatoes. Time consuming, but not difficult at all.
    Tasted good, but too much work, and this dish is not my type of bag. Ok. I pretty much followed the recipe. Except I used boiling onions instead of pearls and whatever mushroom I had. I used a cheap Pinot noir. I think the only thing I'd do differently is cook 9 oz of salt pork as I wound up eating some o the cracklings. I don't see me making this again. Too much work. It was good just took too long.
    There is a quick version of coq au vin on Whole Foods website, it's for the slow cooker, much much less work!
    I had always thought red wine would not pair well with chicken but this recipe changed my mind! The sauce turned out wonderful and flavorful, and the chicken fell off the bone it was so tender! Thanks for the great recipe, Alton!
    Wonderful. My family enjoys this recipe. I would definitely make it again. We have never had coq au vin it was the best. Th chicken just melted in your mouth. The flavors were amazing. Thanks Alton Brown. 
    THIS IS THE RECIPE YOU ARE LOOKING FOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
    If you are looking for the epitome of Coq au Vin recipes ...stop looking you found it. 
    I have tried a dozen or so recipes for Coq au Vin and NONE come even close to the flavors this recipe has (Not even the Julia Childs recipe Most of the other recipes have far too little wine in them. 
    Alton Brown, Thank you sooooooo much for this recipe is is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! The only problem I can see is that I can only give it 5 stars.
    The amount of modification people make and then complain about the results is amusing. I followed the recipe (since it was developed by a professional and the results were wonderful. The salt pork and two tbsp of water made *plenty* of liquid for me to cook everything without needing even the butter. I'm wondering if others used the proper amount of salt pork. The prep was just about an hour, and while I'm not good at multitasking in the kitchen, this recipe lent itself to being able to cut up and clean the other veg while the pork or onions or chicken or mushrooms were sauteing. I'll definitely make this for others because it's an impressive dish compared to the amount of time it takes. And you can prep it the night before and get your kitchen cleaned back up before your guests arrive. Heh!
    Excellent recipe.
    Good, lots of deep flavor. VERY rich. Time consuming
    This recipe turned out amazing! The recipe doesn't say how much salt to use - I used too much and it tasted too salty for me. My family loved it! We'll be making this on a regular basis.
    I was looking for a recipe my father used to make when I was a child. We called it "chicken burgandy" and I thought maybe we couldn't pronounce coq au vin and they called the above. Sadly no, this is not the recipe I remember.
     This chicken was good but very acidic for my taste. I reduced it thinking it would develope the flavor but I just didn't get the flavor I wanted.
     I will be deleting this recipe from my recipe box under the file "alton's best".
    Followed the recipe to a T. Used Cab. Sav. because that's what I had. Served with garlic mashed potatoes, fresh green beans and crusty bread. Delish.
    This was my first attempt at coq au vin, and it has got to be one of the best meals I have ever tasted in my life! The chicken was plump from having absorbed so much wine and was very filling. It was so tender, that it slid right off the bone, and melted in my mouth. The salt pork, mushrooms and pearl onions complemented the dish quite nicely. I will definitely be making this dish for my next dinner party! Thanks, Alton!
    Great recipe though I did not refrigerate overnight. I used pork belly for the salt pork and combined Ina Garten's approach with this one, using brandy to deglaze before I put in the carrots, onions and celery. I also did not use two bottles of wine but wished I did since I did not have much sauce. We cooked it for more than 2.5 hours, not on purpose but because I forgot. Delicious. I will make this recipe again and let it marinate overnight, it should be even better!
    We all know A.B. is a genius...So is this recipe. It's time consuming but not as hard as you would think. Prep wisely and you'll have a great dinner!
    Great, especially with egg noodles, except for one thing: 
    Please don't use a stewing hen.
    An excellent chicken dish, so worth spending the time.
    O.M.G. This was phenomenal. So worth the time. I gambled and made this for my bunko. Dinner for 12 and wow is it time-consuming.
     To speed things up, I used Pancetta Bits (from TJs instead of the bacon so no need to boil and render and defrosted frozen pearl onions instead of fresh. Used sliced cremini mushrooms as well. Otherwise followed the recipe to the letter. (I didn't get a full 2 bottles of wine in the Dutch Oven?the cook needed a little. I followed the previous posters' suggestions to make sure that the chicken was very well browned on all sides before marinating and the chicken was not purple. Neither was the sauce. I think deglazing those tasty brown bits makes all of the difference in getting the gravy to a nice brown color.
     I will make this again for sure! Wonder how it would work in the crock pot?
     Thanks Alton! We love your show.
    This is a great recipe; but a slight variation of mine. I have always used smoked bacon, so the salt pork is a new one on me (but more traditional . I have always done mine in an eletric skillet from beginning to end, which has always produced great results. Alton always seems to know what he is talking about, so follow along with him minions! :
    Too much work. Salt pork did not produce enough liquid for onions and, therefore, rest of recipe was difficult to work with. Will try it once again as it seems to have gotten good reviews.
    EXCELLENT!!! This meal is based on wine, so choice in wine is of the utmost importance. I used 2 bottles of Trader Joe's Pinot Noir, one from San Luis Obispo, Ca, and the other from Oregon. $8.99 each. Sum reviewers said they only used 1 bottle of wine, the reason you want to use 2 bottles is so the flavor is intensified when the broth is reduced. I used frozen pearl onions as fresh were too expensive. Served with homemade crusty french bread. YUM!!! BTW - The meal is even better a couple days later...
    This Coq au Vin was so delicious. We had friends over for dinner who had never tasted this dish before and they were both very impressed. The recipe is time consuming but worth every step. I used one and a half bottles of pinot noir and fresh thyme and rosemary. Did not cook at 325 F, instead 300 F, and when it was time to put the mushrooms and pearl onions and pork cubes in I cooked it for about another hour on 275 F. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and oven roasted carrots/onions. A good dish for special company.
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