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.