Coq Au Vin. It does sound exotic doesn’t it? The literal French translation is “Cock of the Wine” or more like “Cock cooked in wine”. When I think of coq au vin, Julia’s name pops to mind. Julia Child, was an American author, chef and television personality. She moved to France and enrolled in a cooking school where she developed a penchant for French cuisine. It was her wish to simplify some of the French dishes and bring them across the pond, thus making it less fussy for American cuisines.
The French usually douse the bird in a bottle of wine allowing it to take an overnight bath in the refrigerator. Can you imagine the flavors infused in the bird by this method? Another way of making this more authentic, is to blanch the bacon first thereby removing some of the saltiness. But for today, here’s my effortless slow-cooker version of this classic French chicken dish.
Slow Cooker Coq Au Vin
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 5 slices bacon, diced
- 20 oz. button mushrooms sliced in half
- 20 pearl onions
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 7 lbs chicken thighs and legs bone-in (excess fat trimmed)
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 bottle dry red wine (I used a Pinot Noir, the French use a Burgundy)
- 9 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Cook bacon in a skillet. Remove from the skillet, leaving the fat behind and set aside.
- Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and brown in the bacon fat with onion and garlic working in batches if necessary. Keep aside.
- Spoon off any excess fat, add chicken stock, tomato paste, butter, bay leaves, wine and herbs. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve tomato paste.
- Place the sliced carrots in the slow cooker and top with the browned chicken, bacon and onion.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and carrots in slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Half way through, add the mushrooms and pearl onions. Half way through, also spoon some of the hot gravy in a bowl, add the flour to thicken, mix well and return to the slow cooker. Discard bay leaves, rosemary and thyme sprigs before serving. Adjust seasonings. Garnish with chopped thyme or parsley.
Layered with the rich aroma of wine, bacon and vegetables, it’s a perfect cold-weather dish both nourishing and deeply comforting.