Coq Au Vin From Entertaining

coq au vin
Wow, I've been baking a lot lately! It doesn't really register with me how much until I go back and review my posts and pictures. I've made bundt cakes and fruit tartlets and cupcakes and flourless chocolate cakes, and that is a lot of baked goods. So now I'm going to switch gears and tell you about a dinner I recently made.

About a month ago I tried Ina Garten's coq au vin recipe. I thought it was okay -- yes, just okay. The chicken was moist, but the sauce was so thin it was like the chicken was swimming in a pool of wine. It also didn't have a ton of flavor.

coq au vin
Shortly after this not very amazing encounter with coq au vin, I received the new issue of Entertaining from Cook's Illustrated. I swear it sometimes feels like Cook's Illustrated is reading my mind. I started flipping through it, checking out the recipes, as I do every time I get a new magazine. I usually flip through an entire issue, just giving myself a preview, and then I'll go back later and mark the recipes I want to make and read the articles in depth. But with this issue, I got no farther in my flip-through than page 8, which was titled, "Simplifying Coq au Vin."

I pored over the pages, wondering what could make the Cook's Illustrated version better than the one I had already tried. The article explains how coq au vin was originally a peasant dish and how the amount of time people put into modern versions is really surprising. Cook's Illustrated was determined to cut back the time and effort involved in this recipe but still produce the same great-tasting result. That sounded good to me.

One of the main time savers was using boneless, skinless chicken thighs. This way the meat cooks much faster but is still tender.

While I can't give you the recipe, I do recommend that you pick up a copy of Entertaining and make this yourself or just sign up for the 14-day free trial subscription on Cook's Illustrated's Web site.

I started this recipe like I do any other recipe -- I gathered all my ingredients and then prepped everything to the point needed to start the recipe: I peeled onions, cut mushrooms and herbs, and halved chicken thighs.

ingredients for coq au vin
The recipe uses only two pots. The wine, broth, and herbs go in one pot. And then the rest of the dish is made in a Dutch oven, starting with cooking the bacon and then browning the chicken thighs in the bacon grease. Yum.

chicken thighs
After removing the browned chicken thighs, I cooked the onions and mushrooms right in the Dutch oven.

mushrooms and onions
Next I added a bit of garlic, tomato paste, and flour to the mushrooms and onions.

bacon, mushrooms, and onions
Once the veggies are cooked, the wine mixture gets poured over them and the chicken and bacon are returned to the pot. The flour and tomato paste help thicken the wine. Everything simmers together for about 25 minutes so the chicken can get nice and tender.

chicken with bacon
And then the chicken gets removed from the pot again so the sauce can be finished with some butter and a little reserved wine.

Look how thick and glossy the sauce gets. At this point the dish was finished, but I was actually making it for dinner the next night. So I let it cool and then I put it in the fridge overnight. I think this helped to make it even tastier, as it gave the flavors time to really marry.

I rewarmed it on the stove top when we were ready to eat. Everyone really enjoyed it. I definitely preferred this version over Ina's, but I did miss the carrots. I'll add those in next time. And I'll add a little more salt. Otherwise, it was delicious served with mashed potatoes. I really loved the sauce, which was more like gravy.

coq au vin

Have you made coq au vin? Do you have a good recipe for it? How long does your version take?