Calling all Francophiles! Our latest installment of “Fast & Fabulous” features a classic French recipe adapted with weeknight simplicity in mind: Quick Coq au Vin. This hearty, comforting dish is perfect for taking the chill off a dreary Winter’s night and is so delicious it will quickly make it into your regular recipe rotation.
Coq au Vin is a French dish that’s been around since the days of Julius Caesar. Since then it has experienced various incarnations but it wasn’t until Julia Child featured the recipe in her legendary 1961 cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, that it reached its current level of popularity. While “coq” technically refers to a cock or rooster, today the recipe is prepared using a chicken or capon which is braised in red wine (typically Burgundy) along with bacon, mushrooms and thyme. Braising the chicken can be a time intensive process, relegating this recipe to a weekend or special occasion dish. This “quick” version substitutes boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the whole chicken which cook much faster, making it a suitable selection for weeknight enjoyment.
The initial recipe was given to me a few years ago by one of my favorite wine writers and friends, Tony Ventura. I have made it countless times since then and have made some changes which I think enhance the dish a bit such as adding fresh thyme, increasing the amount of sauce and using pre-sliced cremini mushrooms to enhance the flavor and cut down on the prep time. This Quick Coq au Vin is particularly delicious served over buttered egg noodles and accompanied by a glass of red Burgundy, we like the Vincent Girardin Pommard “Les Vignots” 2011 ($49) or a Cru Beaujolais like the Domaine du Pavillon de Chavannes Côte de Brouilly Cuvée des Ambassades 2012 ($20) – a tremendous value for the price!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do and if you have a favorite quick Winter recipe I’d love to hear about it! Please let me know in the comment section below.
“Quick Coq au Vin”
Adapted from Debra F. Weber, Your Guide to French Cuisine
1/3 cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
8 boneless, skinless organic chicken thighs
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
1 lb. Cremini mushrooms, trimmed & sliced
6 oz. Canadian bacon, diced
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups organic chicken broth
1 1/2 Tablespoons tomato paste
Egg noodles cooked according to package directions
1/3 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
1.) In a large zip-lock plastic bag (1 gallon or larger), add the flour, thyme and salt and shake the bag to mix well. Add the chicken and shake to coat thoroughly.
2.) Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over med-high heat. Add chicken and cook on both sides until golden brown – approximately 10 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate.
3.) To the same pan add the mushrooms and bacon and saute for 5 minutes.
4.) Stir in the wine, broth and tomato paste. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
5.) Return chicken to the pan and cook for 10 minutes.
6.) Serve chicken over a bed of egg noodles and garnish with the chopped parsley