Tasty Thursdays: Coq au Vin

Solange, my almost-mother-in-law, used to make coq au vin (chicken in wine) quite often. Stylish, beautiful, generous and funny, she was a stay-at-home mom, long before the term came into vogue, to eight children. Her home was inviting and warm and almost always full of people.

With Mom and Dad

Mom had a habit of “spicing up” everything she made — it just wasn’t done until she added her own flavors and seasoned it with love. She was a stickler for attractive food presentation. “La nourriture doit plaire a l’oeil avant de plaire a l’estomac. (Food must please the eyes before it pleases the stomach.),” she’d always say. And her coq au vin was legendary.

Mom shared her recipe for coq au vin with me several years ago. I’m kicking myself now because I can’t find it anywhere. I’m hoping it’s with my own mother’s recipe for the fruit cake she used to bake every Christmas (we were all given chores — mine was to chop the fruits). She had written it in her own hand on the back of an envelope and given it to me when I was dating Mom Solange’s son. Now they’re all gone and I can’t find either the coq au vin or the Christmas cake recipe anywhere.

Epicurious.com to the rescue! I found something similar to Mom’s coq au vin which I’m sharing with you. It doesn’t have her secret spices but I think you’ll like it.


  • 1 750-ml bottle of dry red wine
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 6 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 whole chicken legs with thighs
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl onions
  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces large mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups Port
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour


Stir first 6 ingredients in heavy large nonreactive pot. Add chicken, submerging completely. Cover; chill overnight.

Cook pearl onions in large pot of boiling salted water 3 minutes. Drain and cool. Peel. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pearl onions and mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Add bacon to same skillet and sauté until brown and crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Wipe skillet clean.

Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken from marinade to strainer (reserve marinade in pot). Pat chicken dry with paper towels; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sauté until skin is brown, turning once, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to pot of marinade; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered until chicken is very tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Strain chicken and cooking liquid over large bowl. Transfer chicken to medium bowl; discard vegetables in strainer. Return liquid to pot. Add Port and bring to boil. Combine flour and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in small bowl. Whisk into cooking liquid. Boil over medium heat until sauce thickens and is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes. Return chicken to pot. Add pearl onions, mushrooms and bacon to sauce in pot. Simmer until heated through and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of epicurious.com




12 comments on “Tasty Thursdays: Coq au Vin

  1. That sounds lovely Marcia, but I’m curious as to the “almost mother in law” status!

  2. Sounds lovely Marcia, but I’m more interested in the “almost mother in law” status!

  3. You know what, Marcia? This sounds real good but a better idea for me is to pass this on for somebody to make it for me (substituting the meat for something veggie like tofu). I have so little patience for following recipes! (or trying to putting some electronic together, for that matter). Yep, I’ll print it, get it cooked up and let you know how that went for me 🙂

    Btw, you’re doing well with your posting. Keep it up.

  4. Thanks, Totsy. It’s been a real challenge but I’m so into a groove now, I can’t imagine missing a day.
    Would love to know how it turns out. I’m sure you can substitute tofu — it should taste very nice. Yeah, let me know.

  5. Beautiful picture of Solange and a great recipe to boot… I hope you will find both recipes tucked away in a book someday… 🙂
    I have gifted three Blog Awards to You! Feel free to post them on your blog and share them.
    Have a Happy Summer!

  6. Oooh, thank you Elizabeth! I will. And what do you mean by Happy Summer. Are you going away?? I hope not!

    I haven’t given up on finding them. Especially the one from my mother — not only is it in her handwriting, it has all the marks of a well-used recipe.
    Mom Solange has been in my thoughts since yesterday and it’s inspired me to write something a bit longer which I’ve shared with her children. She passed away suddenly last year and I’m still numb.
    Thanks for the Blog Awards, Elizabeth. I’ll definitely post and share them.

  7. Thanks, Tony. I almost married her son. Even though it didn’t work out, we remained close. She was more than an almost mother-in-law, she was more like my mom.

  8. Hahaha, we were as close as any mother/daughter-in-law could ever be.
    Thanks, Tony!

  9. Dear Marcia, my “almost-sister-in-law” and true soul sister…thank you for honoring our beautiful Mom Solange on your blog. She must be clapping in Heaven!! 😉
    Peace & Love…
    Cathy O.

  10. Thanks, Cathy. I know she is! I’ve been hearing her laughing for the last few days. Sounds like there’s a party going on. They’re all together: Mom, Mama, Henri, my grandma, Mimi and Annick.
    Talk soon,

  11. Hi! I LOVE coq au vin! I normally just use the Julia Childs’ recipe from her book (and make it my own, ofcourse), but I will try the one you posted 🙂
    Great story. And I didnt know that along with our love of Jamaica (among other things), that we also share a love of France and French food! Good to know!
    Nuff nuff love!
    Nicole Francis-Barrett

  12. Hey Mommy, glad to see you have a minute to connect. How’s the little one?
    Thank you. Love, love, love France – could go back tomorrow.
    Thanks for the visit. Nuff, nuff love to you too!

Comments are closed.