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Classic Chicken in Red Wine

Serves 6
Prep time: 40 mins
Cooking time: 2+ hours

This popular dish may be called coq au Chamberlain, coq au Riesling, or coq au whatever wine you use for its cooking. It is made with either white or red wine, but red is more characteristic. In France it is usually accompanied only by parsley potatoes; buttered green peas could be included if you wish a green vegetable. Serve it with a young, full-bodied red Burgundy, Beaujolais or Cotes du Rhone.



  • 100g chunk lean bacon
  • 2 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds frying chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1/8 tsp pepper, plus additional for seasoning
  • 1/4 cup cognac
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 1 to 2 cups brown chicken stock, brown stock or canned beef bouillon
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/4 tsp thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tbsps all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsps softened butter
  • Fresh parsley leaves
  • Mushrooms and onions, sauteed to accompany the dish.
View the method
  1. Remove the rind and cut the bacon into small rectangles. Simmer the bacon for 10 minutes in 2 litres of water.
  2. Rinse in cold water. Dry the bacon.
  3. In a heavy large heavy bottomed casserole or Dutch oven, saute the bacon slowly in hot butter until it is very lightly browned.
  4. Remove the bacon, and set aside.
  5. Dry the chicken thoroughly, and brown it in the hot fat in the casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Return the bacon to the casserole with the chicken, then cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once. Uncover, and pour in the cognac.
  7. Averting your face, ignite the cognac with a lighted match. Shake the casserole back and forth for several seconds until the flames subside. Pour the wine into the casserole. Add just enough stock or bouillon to cover the chicken.
  8. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer slowly for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and its juices run a clear yellow when the meat is pricked with a fork.
  9. Remove the chicken, and set aside.
  10. While the chicken is cooking, slice and gently saute the onions and mushrooms together.
  11. Simmer the chicken cooking liquid in the casserole for 1 to 2 minutes, skimming off fat. Then raise the heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2 1/4 cups. Taste, and adjust the seasoning if nessasary.
  12. Remove from heat, and discard bay leaf. Blend the butter and flour together into a smooth paste. Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whisk. Bring to the simmer, stirring, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
  13. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. Arrange the chicken in a casserole, place the sauteed mushrooms and onions around it and baste with the sauce. Serve from the casserole, or arrange on a hot platter, decorated with sprigs of parsley.

    If the dish is not to be served immediately, film the top of the sauce with stock or dot with small pieces of butter. Set aside uncovered for no longer than 1 hour or cool, cover and refrigerate until needed. Shortly before serving, bring the casserole to a simmer, basting the chicken with the sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 4 to 5 minutes, until the chicken is heated through. 
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