Cook's Illustrated Recipes»Stews»French»Chicken»Modern Coq au Vin Recipe

White-tablecloth restaurants have hijacked this simple chicken and wine stew, making it a fussy, time-consuming affair. Could we return this dish to its humble roots?

The Problem

Classic Coq au Vin shouldn't be time-consuming (conventional recipes take at least 2 1/2 hours to prepare) or fancy.

The Goal

We wanted to return this dish to its roots, simplifying the recipe until we could serve this basic "chicken stew" after only 90 minutes.

The Solution

We chose boneless thighs that, after just 25 minutes, became fall-apart tender and packed with wine flavor. But we found we needed to compensate for some lost chicken flavor (traditionally derived from bones and skin) as well as tame the red wine, which did not have a long enough simmering period in which to mellow. Our solution was to bulk up the wine with some chicken broth and reduce it in a separate saucepan before adding it to the stew. While the wine/broth mixture was simmering, we browned the meat and vegetables (onions and mushrooms) together, adding minced garlic, tomato paste, and crisped bacon for full flavor and flour for thickening. For optimal richness, we added 1 tablespoon of uncooked wine and 2 tablespoons of butter at the finish.