It was originally a way to use that tough old rooster -- (which is why it is coq rather than poulet) -- with a long simmer in wine. Today, our dish is not made from old roosters but the long simmer in wine does flavor the chicken well.
It was for company and so I used chicken breasts -- and served it over garlic mashed potatoes to soak up all those delicious juices.
Coq au Vin
4 ounces bacon or pancetta, diced
1 (3 to 4 pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1 inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 t. chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
1/2 bottle good dry red wine, such as Burgundy
1 cup good chicken stock
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 T. butter, at room temp, divided
1 1/2 T. flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thicky sliced
Preheat the oven to 250
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.
Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.
Add the carrots, onions, 2 t. salt and 1 t. pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken, stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.
Mash 1 T of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 T of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.