Last night I had a walk down memory lane. A friend cooked dinner for my husband and I, and when she told me what she was serving a huge smile came across my face, Coq au Vin (music to my ears and stomach).
Ever since dinner I’ve been daydreaming about my recent trip to France and all of the amazing food and wine that I was able to taste. In particular, I remember one night in Beaune, in the region of Burgundy, looking for a place to eat dinner and we stumbled upon this tiny corner restaurant near our hotel. I don’t remember the name of this restaurant. All I remember is that they were only serving one dish that night, Coq au Vin, and the only wine available was the “local house wine” served in a carafe. It was my first taste of a real “French” Coq au Vin and it was absolutely delicious. Local food, cooked in local wine.
This is the wine we drank that night! Local Burgundian wine. Yum. Yum! I still remember how much I enjoyed every single taste and every bite of the coq au vin! That meal will always be one of my favorite memories of my trip to France. Since I’ve returned I have tried many recipes to try to duplicate that meal. I’ve come pretty close.
Last night I was not in a cute family run Burgundian restaurant (close, it was a cute family owned home in Vancouver, WA), but I was surrounded by good people, a delicious meal, and to feel a little more Burgundian we brought over a bottle of 2000 Domaine Pierre Gelin Fixin Clos Napoleon 1er Cru.
It was tasting beautiful. Nice velvety tannins, good cherry, plum and a bit of cinnamon. And yes, it went very well with the Coq au Vin. Yum.
So since I am feeling so nostalgic today I wanted to share my favorite Coq au Vin recipe.
The original recipe came from my hero, Ina Garten, but I have tweaked it a bit from the original. But thanks Ina for giving me the confidence to first try this recipe!
Don’t let the fancy French name fool you (all it translates into is Chicken in Wine), this recipe is easy to make, and tastes amazing… what could be better than food cooked in wine? Believe me, it is worth the cooking time! Besides it’s still cold outside, what else are you gonna do?
Coq au Vin
4-6 servings, 1.5 hrs to prepare
3 Tbs olive oil
3 slices of bacon (or pancetta), chopped into large chunks
1 small chicken (about 4lbs) cut into 8 parts
1/4 cup of flour
1 medium onion
8 oz of sliced cremini mushrooms
½ lb carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 bag a (about 10 oz) frozen pearl onions
¾ bottle (1 glass for you to sip on while you cook, then the rest goes in the pot) of a good Pinot Noir (the kind you would want to drink!)
1 cup of chicken stock
1 bay leaf
8-10 springs of thyme
A little salt, pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the bacon and cook until crisp.
Remove from pot with slotted spoon.
Shake the chicken pieces with the flour, salt and pepper in a plastic bag.
Brown the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side in the large pot (or dutch oven). Remove and set aside with the bacon.
Sauté the mushrooms, carrots, garlic and onions for 5 minutes in the same pot until they begin to brown. Add the chicken, bacon, back into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, bay leaf and thyme, and bring the mixture to simmer. Cover the pot with a tight lid and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Remove and place back on the stovetop. Add the frozen onions, simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and serve.
Serve your favorite Pinot Noir. You may not have the 2000 Domaine Pierre Gelin Fixin Clos Napoleon 1er Cru available, but whatever you wish to drink will do!
*Cooking with the wine that you will eventually pair with the food heightens the flavors of both!
Please try out this recipe, and let me know what you think!
It’s the perfect winter (or early spring) meal.
And for me, it’s the perfect reminder of my trip to France!