16 Jul Coq au Vin Blanc


Coq au Vin Blanc

16 July 2020

PREP. TIME: 20 MIN   -   COOK TIME: 40 MIN   -   SERVES: 4

Coq au Vin Blanc translates as 'Cockerel or Rooster cooked in White Wine'.  The original recipe for Coq au Vin allegedly used an aged red Burgundy.  In this modern interpretation of the French classic I prefer the appearance of a white wine sauce and the tender juiciness of chicken Marylands. For an authentically flavoured sauce - do not skimp on the herbs and be sure to stick to tiny pickling onions and miniscule button mushrooms as detailed in the ingredients list.

Recipe Template

Cooking with a whole bottle of wine may cause consternation amongst some.  I used an entirely acceptable Cave de Lugny, Macon Villages, Chardonnay.  It is available at Vintage Cellars for $15.  If you cannot find it - a good rule of thumb to protect the subtle flavours of a sauce is to opt for medium-bodied, non - oaked wines that are not too sweet.  See the recipe variation below to use the more traditional red wine.

You can double or halve the number of serves simply by doubling or halving all of the ingredients.

ingredients for 4 - 6 serves

750 ml unoaked chardonnay

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

1 onion, peeled and diced

5 small sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

2 tablespoons butter

4 chicken maryland 

75 mls brandy - optional

1 cup chicken stock

12 -20 golden shallots or small pickling onions, peeled and kept whole

150g pancetta, guanciale or bacon - diced

20 - 30 tiny button mushrooms

Sea Salt or Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 - 3 tablespoons of finely chopped parsley or a garnish of sprigs of fresh thyme


Glass or ceramic dish, large enough to hold the chicken ideally in a single layer and fits in your fridge

1 x 2 litre saucepan

1 chopping board and paring knife

Measuring spoons and jug

Large, wide, casserole or shallow pan with a lid.  This must be big enough to hold the chicken in a single layer and deep enough to hold the liquids and other ingredients.


Wooden spoon

Medium size fry pan


Step 1

Butchers order:

4 chicken maryland, divided into a chicken thigh, and drumstick.  Skin on.

150g pancetta (or guanciale or bacon) chopped into fine dice

Step 2

When you get the chicken home:

Unwrap the chicken from any paper or plastic coverings.

Pat it dry with paper towels and rain 1 - 2 tablespoons of salt over the chicken, rubbing it well into the flesh.

Refrigerate the chicken in a glass or ceramic dish until you are ready to cook it.

Step 3

Bring the chicken to room temperature 1 hour before cooking

Step 4

Prepare the vegetables :

Peel and dice the carrot for the wine reduction

Peel and dice the onion for the wine reduction

Peel and chop the garlic

Peel and keep whole the golden shallots or pickling onions

Wipe clean the mushrooms - removing any dirt with a damp cloth, keep whole.

Step 5

Make the wine reduction

    Pour the wine into the saucepan, add the diced carrot and onion, the thyme, bay leaves and garlic. Bring the wine gently to the boil and then reduce to a smart simmer. Continue simmering until you have reduced the wine by half.  

    Strain the wine through a fine wire strainer into a measuring jug  - reserve the wine and discard the solids.  You should have a reduction of 375mls of wine.  If you have more - return the ingredients to the pan and reduce further.

Step 6

While the wine is reducing - fry the chicken pieces.

   Place the large casserole or pan over moderate heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter.        Once the butter begins to foam place the chicken pieces skin down, cooking until the chicken is  golden underneath.  Turn with your tongs and colour the other side.  

   Remove any excess fat from the pan with a metal spoon and place it in the fry pan - you can use this to cook the onions.

Step 7

Keep the casserole or pan with the chicken over medium heat.

   If using the brandy, ignite the brandy in either the measuring jug or on a soup ladle.

   Pour the flaming brandy over the chicken.

   When the flames die down all together, add the strained wine reduction.

   Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover the pot with the lid and continue simmering for 30 - 40 minutes.  

   Put your timer on for 25 minutes.

Step 8

While the chicken is cooking - cook the shallots or pickling onions in the frypan.

   Place the pan over moderate heat.  

   Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan and without overcrowding the pan, cook both sides of the onions until golden.  As the onions cook - remove them from the pan with tongs and nestle them in amongst the chicken.  Continue until all of the onions are cooked.

Step 9.

In the same frypan, fry the pancetta.

   Once it is crisp - remove it from the pan and set aside.

    Add the mushrooms - cooking them in batches if necessary until they are lightly browned.

   Warm a large shallow bowl or platter to serve.

Step 10

When the timer goes off after 25 minutes - check how well done the chicken is.  It may need up to another 15 minutes before the chicken is cooked through when checked with a small sharp knife.

   Add the mushrooms at this stage - this is enough time to heat them through.

Step 11

   Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper.

   Place the chicken and mushrooms and onions in a heated shallow bowl.  Pour the sauce over.

   Garnish with parsley or sprigs of fresh thyme.

To Serve

Creamy mashed potatoes and either a green or tomato salad are an ideal accompaniment.

Select a Beaujolais,  a red or white burgundy or Pinot Noir.


Some people prefer a thicker sauce.  This is best done by making a Beurre Manie.  

Place the chicken, the mushrooms and the onions on a warm platter, keep them warm and covered while you thicken the sauce. 

Measure or estimate how much sauce you have - for this recipe you will have about 600mls or 3 cups.  For every cup of sauce mash 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 level tablespoon of flour in a small bowl or plate.  Roll the mixture into balls the size of a walnut.  Bring the sauce to the boil and whisk in the beurre manie until the sauce is smooth. This will make the sauce thick and glossy.

Return the chicken and vegetables and any juices to the pan, taste again for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if necessary.  Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes so that the ingredients can warm through and the flavours blend.

Transfer the chicken and vegetables to the warm serving bowl or platter and pour the sauce over.

Serve immediately.


Traditional recipe adapted by Elizabeth Peddey

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