National Coq au Vin Day


While several websites say that National Coq au Vin Day is March 22, several others say it is May 29. We’ve sided with the latter group, but, hey, if you want to celebrate it on both dates, whose going to stop you? This dish is good enough that it deserves to have two holidays a year.


Coq au Vin is a French chicken dish cooked in wine, and is thought to be a dish created by French peasants. Recipes for Coq au Vin weren’t documented until the early 20th century, but it’s likely it was cooked and served long before that. The word “coq” means rooster in French, and “vin” means wine, so the recipe was originally for a rooster cooked in wine. Peasant farms typically had a single rooster and several hens to lay eggs and provide meat. When the rooster eventually got too old to perform his manly duties, he was replaced by a younger one, and probably was killed to use in a stew. Because of his advanced age, his meat was likely stringy and tough enough that wine was required for braising to make the meat tender and tasty. Today, a rooster is not required to make Coq au Vin. It’s typically made with a capon or chicken.

Here is Ina Garton’s recipe for Coq au Vin from the Food Network’s website.

Ina Garton’s Coq au Vin

2 tablespoons good olive oil
4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken pieces in batches in the Dutch oven in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

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