Perfect Pairings: Coq Au Vin and Pinot Noir

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Coq Au Vin (“rooster with wine”) is a classic French dish that originally used rooster or tougher birds that needed tenderizing through slow braising. These days it’s commonly made with chicken and probably the most famous and delicious of all French chicken dishes with browned pieces of chicken, bacon and mushrooms  in a rich red wine sauce.

Pinot Noir, which is the main red grape of Burgundy, is the  perfect pairing as the lighter tannins won’t overwhelm the lighter meat and notes of smokiness, earthy undertones and spice bring out flavors of  bacon and mushrooms in the dish as well.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-5  bacon slices, diced
  • 3-4  pound chicken legs and thighs, skin on
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 carrots, sliced into 1-inch chunks
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup Cognac or Brandy
  • 2 cups  red wine such as Pinot Noir
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ pound frozen pearl onions
  • 1 pound  mushrooms, sliced ( cremini, shiitaki, button, etc)

Directions

Heat olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add bacon and cook over medium heat until lightly browned. Remove bacon to a large plate.

Dry chicken with paper towels, sprinkle with salt and pepper. In batches, sear chicken for 3 to 5 minutes, until brown on all sides. Remove chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the chicken pieces are browned. Set aside.

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Add shallots and carrots and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add brandy and stir to combine; scraping any remaining browned bits off the bottom of the pan.

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Add chicken and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add wine and enough chicken broth to almost cover the meat. Add thyme, bay leaves and stir. Cover pot and bring to a simmer over low heat and cook for about 30 minutes.

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Combine 1Tablespoon of butter and flour in a small bowl and mix together with a fork. Stir some of the cooking liquid from the pot and put the flour mixture back into the pot. Add the frozen pearl onions.

Sauté mushrooms in remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and add to chicken pot.

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Simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with bread, potatoes or spoon over egg noodles. And of course…Pinot Noir!

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