The Best Coq Au Vin Recipe
- Chicken breast – 1 – 1.5 per adult
- Chicken stock – home made is best, but who are we kidding? We use the low sodium boxed broth
- Chopped onions – anything but red onion (trust me on this!)
- Finely minced garlic – 1 or 2 cloves
- Herbes de provence, salt and pepper, 2 bay leaves. The HdeP is NON negotiable: go buy some. Now.
- Mushrooms – white is fine; cremini is better – wiped down and quartered
- Niçoise olives – if you can’t find these, then unstuffed green olives are fine
- Red wine – don’t use the cheap stuff either: bad wine just makes bad food
- And finally, our secret ingredient: ketchup (shhhh…. don’t tell my grandmother!)
- Do your ‘mise en place’ – which means getting all the ingredients out and ready so that you aren’t rummaging through the cupboard for something with grubby hands – this is a good time to pour yourself a glass of the wine to make sure that it is not corked or off (wink)!
- Get a lot of tasting spoons out: we don’t do measurements so you have to taste it frequently to make sure it’s edible!
- Cut the chicken into bite size pieces.
- Heat a bit of olive oil and a pat of butter in a pan to a high heat and sauté the chicken to brown it – if you have a lot of chicken, do it in batches otherwise it will boil disgustingly in the pan; move the cooked chicken to a large pot.
- Add the chopped onions and cook for a minute then add the garlic. Cook until soft and add to the chicken in the cooking pot.
- Deglaze the pan to get all the yummy bits that stuck to the bottom of your pan with a bit of the red wine (not from your glass!); cook it down for a minute and add to the pot. Don’t forget to deglaze your own palate with a sip from your glass, now and again!
- Fill the pot with chicken stock and red wine until the chicken is fully covered and a little bit more – you will be adding the mushrooms later, so it needs to be more than covered.
- Add the Herbes de Provence, bay leaves and olives.
- Add salt and pepper as needed (not too much salt because the olives are usually brined and will add some salt flavour).
- Bring to a boil and then turn down to a high simmer.
- Add ketchup.
- Taste and adjust with any of the above flavours EXCEPT bay leaves – too much of those will totally ruin it (trust me on this too!)
- Let it simmer for a good 30 – 40 minutes.
- Add mushrooms.
- Taste and adjust flavours.
- Simmer for a further 15 minutes, minimum.
And that’s it. This dish can be cooled and frozen or better yet, made a day ahead and reheated slowly for a winter dinner party, to be served with egg noodles, crusty baguette and, though it goes without saying, a gorgeous red wine.