Coq au vin was all the rage in the 1960s, when French cooking really began to take hold in American kitchens. Now, however, it seems a far less exotic dish, and the many recipes for it that have appeared over the years are often bland and boring.
At its best, coq au vin should be hugely tasty, the acidity of the wine rounded out by rich, salty bacon and sweet, caramelized onions and mushrooms. The chicken should act like a sponge, soaking up those same dark, rich flavors. We wanted to develop a recipe for coq au vin that would rekindle the excitement that welcomed it when it first found its way to American home cooking.
For maximum flavor, use chicken legs rather than a combination of legs and breasts and give the sauce and wine enough time to fully reduce. To further develop the flavor, add the traditional bouquet garni and aromatic vegetables as well as the classic pearl onions and white mushrooms. Thicken the sauce at the end with a beurre manié (equal parts uncooked flour and butter) and finish with fresh parsley. Serve over buttered egg noodles.