About the Recipe
1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs), cut into 8 pieces
4 oz thick-cut bacon, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 bottle (750 ml) dry red wine, such as Burgundy or Pinot Noir
2 cups chicken broth
1 lb pearl onions, peeled
8 oz button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brandy or cognac
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
Prep the chicken: Season the chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper. Set aside for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
Cook the bacon: In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Once done, remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the bacon fat in the pot.
Brown the chicken: Increase the heat to medium-high. Add half the chicken pieces to the pot, skin-side down, and brown for about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate, and repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.
Sauté the vegetables: Lower the heat to medium, and add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pot. Add the pearl onions, mushrooms, and carrots. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly softened and have a light golden color. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute.
Create the sauce: Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, stirring to coat evenly. Gradually pour in the wine and chicken broth, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Add the thyme, bay leaves, and the reserved bacon. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Simmer the dish: Return the chicken to the pot, nestling it among the vegetables. Cover the pot and let it simmer gently for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.
Finish with a burst of flavor: In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the brandy or cognac over medium heat. Carefully ignite the alcohol with a long match or lighter (stand back and use caution!). Let the flames die down, then stir the mixture into the pot with the chicken and vegetables.
Garnish and serve: Remove the bay leaves, and season the dish with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with chopped parsley just before serving. Coq au Vin is best enjoyed with crusty bread, buttery mashed potatoes, or egg noodles. Bon appétit!