A classic, warming, slow-cooked French Dish today – Coq Au Vin (or at least my version of it, as apparently traditional Coq Au Vin adds chicken blood to the sauce – but I didn’t find that idea very appetising!
Start by melting the butter (or you could use oil to make the recipe dairy-free) and browning the chicken, on both sides, in a frying pan until it gets a good colour all over and the skin crisps up. I used whole chicken legs but you could use anything you like, the breasts, the drumsticks, the thighs etc or you could joint a whole chicken and use every bit!
Remove the chicken from the pan and set to one side. Chop the bacon up into small pieces and fry it in the same pan that you used for the chicken. Remove and set this to one side too.Peel and slice the shallots and garlic and fry the shallots until browned and softened – add the sliced garlic and cook for a further couple of minutes to soften.
Chop up the mushrooms and carrots into bite-sized pieces and add half of them to the slow cooker along with half of the shallots, the garlic and the bacon. Place the chicken on top and then cover with the rest of the bacon and veggies.Add the aromatics (rosemary, thyme and bay leaves) and then pour the wine over the top – don’t use a fantastic bottle of wine, but don’t use the cheapest one either. As it is one of the main ingredients in this dish, you’ll really notice the difference if you use a slightly nicer bottle than standard cooking wine! Season well with salt and pepper and leave it in the slow-cooker to do its thing!
I left it for about 6 hours on the high setting but if you wanted to speed up the process, you could put everything into a large oven-proof dish with a lid and cook on 200C for about an hour and a half instead. The result should be the same. The chicken should take on the deep burgundy colour of the wine and all the vegetables should be cooked all the way through.Drain off the sauce into a pan and heat it on a high temperature on the hob (making sure to stir it so it doesn’t burn) to reduce by at least half to thicken it.Remove the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves as best you can and throw them away. Spoon out the chicken carefully as it will be so tender it will fall apart and off of the bone easily. Serve with the vegetables from the slow cooker and any others you like. I like this with Buttered Cabbage & Bacon and my Cauliflower Mash.
Drizzle the sauce all over the top and it’s ready to eat. A delicious, rich, comforting dinner and the way that you cook the chicken ensures that it doesn’t dry out and remains tender and juicy. A great one for a warm dinner on a winter evening!
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