Coq au Vin and the Julia Child 100

Last week we had the opportunity to welcome six young laying hens to our little homestead and, as a consequence, we ‘harvested’ our older, non-laying hens. Conveniently, this week’s recipe in the Julie Child 100 club was Coq au Vin, a a classic French recipe that turns tougher, less-desirable cuts of chicken into a delectable dish.

Boy, did I have the chicken for that dish. I froze the breasts from the hens in a buttermilk & dijon marinade, turned the carcasses into stock, and that left just the legs for braising.

I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to prepare Coq au Vin for the 100 club, especially with our own homegrown chicken. Read on to find out more about the JC100…and how it all turned out for me.

The Beauty of Coq au Vin

It’s hard to say no to a beautiful family-style dish of Coq au Vin or chicken braised in red wine. The flavors build upon each other, beginning with bacon (rightfully so) and continuing with an entire bottle of red wine. A sprinkling of parsley garnishes the chicken pieces and plump button mushrooms and the whole dish is served over hot buttered egg noodles, stroganoff-style.

You could also serve the braise with small boiled new potatoes, however, we love Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Blend Wide Noodles. These egg-white only noodles cook up quickly and contain a blend of Durum whole wheat flour & semolina that gives them a lovely tender texture. Be sure to cook them slightly al dente, as they will absorb the sauce and continue cooking slightly as they come to the table.

Julia Child’s recipe for Coq au Vin is considerably longer and more complicated than my version below. I’ve simplified it somewhat and made some changes, such as leaving out the onion garnish.

In the original recipe, Julia (rightfully, traditionally,) includes brown-braised onions, however I omitted them as I am really watching my consumption of vegetables from the onion family because I am nursing Clara. I do use onions in the making of the stock though.

Instead of baby onions in the recipe, I doubled up on the mushrooms, which are lovely and meaty, and help to stretch the dish a little further.

What is the JC 100?

Culinary icon Julia Child would have turned 100 years old on August 15th of this year. To honor her, our friends at Julia Child’s publisher, Alfred A. Knopf launched a campaign involving restaurants, chefs, bookstores, and bloggers, all celebrating Julia and her legacy.

I am one of 100 (I’m guessing a lot more than that, actually) food bloggers posting a version of a Julia Child recipe between now and August. Join this tribute to the First Lady of French cooking by following @JC100 and the hashtag #JC100 on Twitter and liking the Julia Child Facebook page.

How it ended

As it turned out, we never ate the old layer’s legs. I braised them low and slow for over four hours, and, upon tasting, decided that they would never be tender. No matter. I strained the beautiful sauce and used it for the batch of plump chicken legs that you see in the photos.

I got 10 quarts of incredible stock from those birds, but the meat was inedible. Sufficient to say, if someone offers you old laying hens, don’t envision preparing a succulent roast chicken dinner with them, or you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment.

This dish was a massive hit with the kids (served with a side of steamed broccoli to round it out) thanks to the tender chicken, the bacon bits, and gravy-coated noodles. It was an unusually quiet dinner!

I’m guessing this could also be made in the slowcooker. I aim to try that out next.


Simple Coq au Vin (Chicken with Mushrooms in Red Wine Sauce)
5.0 from 4 reviews
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Recipe type: Main
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 8
A simplified version of a classic French 'Coq au Vin', this elegant dish extravagantly uses a whole bottle of wine and irresponsibly tosses the vegetables once the sauce has been made. Shocking? Perhaps. Utterly worth it? Absolutely.
Ingredients
  • 3 lbs bone-in chicken pieces
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 lb bacon, ideally slab bacon, diced
  • 1/2 lb carrots, peeled
  • 2 small onions, peeled
  • 3 stalks celery, washed
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
Garnish:
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, stems trimmed
  • fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry. Season all over with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large oven-proof skillet (I use a French Oven), cook diced bacon over medium heat until most of the fat is rendered and pieces are browned.
  3. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pot, and drain on a paper towel.
  4. Add the chicken pieces to the pot and brown the skin in the bacon fat over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, roughly chop carrots, onions and celery into 1/2 inch pieces.
  5. Remove chicken from pot and set aside. Add vegetables to the pot, using a little olive oil as needed to cook the vegetables. Saute vegetables for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften.
  6. Add a cup of wine to deglaze the pan, that is, to loosen all the brown bits on the bottom. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all those flavorful bits up.
  7. Add the chicken pieces, the remaining wine, the stock, bay leaf, and the thyme leaves to the vegetables. Stir to combine, then cover with a lid.
  8. Simmer coq au vin gently, over low heat, for about 40 minutes or until the chicken is tender and falling off the bone. (cooking time will vary with size and quality of chicken.)
  9. Remove the pot from the heat and, using a sturdy pair of tongs, take out chicken pieces and set aside once again. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer and discard the vegetables.
  10. Return the sauce to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes at a low boil until it is reduced by half.
  11. In a small bowl, mix together just 2 Tablespoons soft butter and flour. Using a whisk, incorporate the paste, called a 'Beurre manié', into the sauce. Mix well until all the lumps are gone. Cook the sauce another five minutes, whisking occasionally, until it is glossy and coats the back of a spoon. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
  12. In a separate saute pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of butter, and add mushrooms. Stir for a minute, then add a few tablespoons of water. This helps the mushrooms to release their juices. Cook over medium-high heat for another 5 minutes until the liquid is evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown.
  13. Return the chicken to the sauce in the pot, and add the bacon and sauteed mushrooms. Stir together and heat gently. Serve over hot buttered egg noodles or atop boiled, smashed potatoes. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Has Julia Child (or another culinary icon) influenced your cooking in any way?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. Yes as I was making mine last week, I was wondering if I could make it in the slow cooker with the same results. When it’s colder again I will definitely try! What a lovely story and some true “farm to table” eating you have going on chez toi! And that the whole family loved it? Bonus!
    Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite’s last post: Silent Sunday: Coq au vin for the JC100

  2. ! I never would have thought it could be done in a healthy way and still look and taste so good. Thanks for another healthy recipe!
    Vernon A. Ruez’s last post: vigrx plus cheap

  3. Oh wow that looks so delicious! Do you think it would still be nice with the vegetables left in? I hate to throw stuff out and also like to ‘stretch’ things a bit with veg when I can (like you and the mushrooms – great idea!). I guess it wouldn’t look as classy… Maybe I’ll try it both ways to decide.
    my honest answer’s last post: Can I wear Black to a Wedding?

  4. Beth Johnson says:

    I look forward to making this, thanks for posting. Reading the recipe brought back many fond memories of the Julia Child craze in the 70’s and my Aunt’s pleasure in presenting this dish at a special gathering one year. It was such a hit, she repeated the performance several times over the next few years. I love seeing so many recipes of my youth re kindled and used again.

  5. I adore coq au vin. This looks mouthwatering, Aimee!!
    Cassie’s last post: Sprinkle Bakes Mushroom Cookies & Giveaway

  6. Ny son makes me coq au vin but instead of the wine we use pomegranate juice. It adds such a wonderful layer of taste. Our “gravy” isnt as thick as what you show but we use leftover broth to make risotto…yummmm.

  7. Melanie says:

    Wow! That looks amazing! We will definitely be trying that recipe once Kevin is able to eat again! Thanks for posting.

  8. I should have guessed your instagram pics were for this! Lovely post Aimee. I considered doing a slow cooker version and agree it would be great to try.
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel’s last post: Pâte à Choux: Cream Puffs and Éclairs {Sprinkle Bakes Cookbook Giveaway}

  9. I don’t know how I’ve missed this little event going on. I always kind of feel like I’m the odd one out.. I never watched Julia Child growing up. In fact, we never watched any cooking shows at all. I kinda feel like I missed out on a childhood friend here.

    We love coq au vin in this house, though we usually make the blanc version in Pam Anderson’s one dish dinner’s book, and use chicken thighs. I don’t think I’ve actually made the original version in a few years. Time to rectify that.
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies’s last post: Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts

  10. Crystal says:

    I love cooking and this delicious idea is lovely like, thanks for sharing…
    Crystal’s last post: Hot Tub Spares

  11. I’ve made so many dishes from this book but not the coq au vin…not sure why not but sure that has to be rectified. She has not failed me yet! Looks to die for.
    Barbara | Creative Culinary’s last post: The Best Limoncello is Homemade Limoncello!

  12. This looks amazingly good and healthy! Thank you for the recipe!!
    Stephanie’s last post: Mango Frozen Yogurt (Without a Machine)

  13. I will be pinning this.. I just joined French Fridays with Dorie and have started making French food every week. It is amazing how they make scraps into gourmet dishes.
    Diane Balch’s last post: Foodie Friday Party: Sicilian Tuna Pasta

  14. Aimee this is such a great idea ~ love how you simplified a dish that often intimidates!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Marla. I think anyone who tastes this dish would be clamoring for the recipe, no matter how complex. =) Hopefully, it’s simplified enough to appear on the family dinner table for many a reader.

  15. Oh how I love thee… This is such a versatile dish! The pics look amazing! Great site!

  16. jennifer says:

    I love cooking and this delicious idea is lovely like, thanks for sharing this with us…
    jennifer’s last post: MoDrains

  17. Thanks for this great recipe! :)
    Stephanie’s last post: Become an Online Translator for MyGengo

  18. Awesome! Looks amazing.
    I’ll have to see if my kiddos love it as much as yours.
    JenMarie’s last post: Cauliflower Rice

  19. Julia Child is one of my food heros! Making real food using high quality ingredients is a honor and one that is essential to pass to future generations.
    Like Julia Child did…with her ‘exigence’ (demanding perfection in her recipes and food quality). Julia passed so much onto to us. Bon Appetit and merci for this recipe.

  20. This looks like the epitome of comfort food! I love that you simplified this from Julia’s version! Can’t wait to give it a try.
    Jamie | My Baking Addiction’s last post: Chocolate-Coconut Rice Krispie Treats

  21. Oooo! This looks sooo good! My neighbors were actually saying at their Memorial Day BBQ that they think they need to “retire” a couple of their laying hens, because they haven’t been producing many eggs lately. They commented they weren’t sure what to do with them. Now I have an answer!! Woo hoo! :)
    Liz @ The HomeStyle’s last post: {Combat Clutter} Arts and Crafts

  22. that looks so insanely delicious!!
    Michelle’s last post: Memorial Day Strawberry Dessert: Year 3

  23. It must be delicious!

  24. Do you know that this is more or less the recipe for all French traditional stews?
    Blanquette de veau: same recipe, except that you’re using rough cuts of eal and white wine
    Boeuf bourguignon: same recipe, rough cuts of beef and red wine.

    I also always keep the vegetables in, and my kids love them. My grandma, who is French (as I am) and who taught me cooking, always kept them. My grandparents were farmers, not poor but not well-off either, and they would never ever have discarded food.
    An additional little thing, after the 5 initial minutes of saute-ing the mushrooms, I add balsamic vinegar and let them caramelize. It helps them keeping their flavour and not have it melt into the gravy.

  25. I am hosting our book club meeting next week and wanted to make a Julia Child dish (our book, this month, is “My life in France”) but most of her original ones appear to be very time consuming. I will definitely be using your version instead! Thanks for posting it! :)
    Johanne’s last post: A Look at Our First Paleo Meals

  26. Did you make this in the slow cooker? I would love to try it but don’t have much cooking time. Have you tried freezing it either before the cooking process or after? It says a full bottle of red wine, how many oz is that and what it the best wine to use?

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