Chef Gordon's Kitchen: Classic Coq au Vin

mt_ignore: ChefGordonChef Gordon Holmes of Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort returns to share another original recipe:  Classic Coq au Vin!

Classic Coq au Vin

25-30 pearl onions

8 oz. button mushrooms, coarsely chopped

1 medium sized onion, coarsely chopped

2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped

2 medium sized carrots, coarsely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

6 to 8 sprigs of fresh thyme, or 2 t. dried thyme

1 large or 2 small bay leaves


1 five to seven lb. stewing chicken, cut up

salt and pepper

1/4 to 1/2 C. flour

2 T. water

6 oz. salt pork or slab bacon

1 T. unsalted butter

2 (750 ml.) bottles of Pinot Noir or any dry red wine

2 T. tomato paste

2 C. chicken stock or broth


Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

If using fresh pearl onions, clean the roots and skins off of them and set aside.  If using frozen, move on to the next step. 

Salt and pepper the chicken pieces and put them into a large resealable bag along with the flour.  It's better to do this a few pieces at a time, adding a bit more flour as needed.  Shake the bag to coat the chicken, then remove the pieces to a metal rack.

Add 2 T. water to a large saute pan.  Put onto a medium heat, then add the salt pork.  Cover and cook until the water is gone, and then remove the cover and continue to cook until the pork is golden brown and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove the pork and set aside.

In the same pan, using the remaining bacon fat, add the pearl onions.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove onions and set aside, along with the bacon.  In the same pan, using the remaining fat, saute the chicken pieces until golden brown.  Work in a couple of batches if necessary so as not to over crowd the pan.  Add some olive oil and/or butter to pan as needed.  Remove the chicken and place into an 8 quart oven-proof Dutch oven.  Add the mushrooms to the same saute pan and saute until they shrink up, about 6 minutes...add a little butter as necessary.  Remove the mushrooms and set aside with the pearl onions and the bacon. 

While keeping the saute pan hot, add about 1 cup of the wine and de-glaze the pan...bring the wine to a heavy simmer and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon until all of the brown pieces come off.  After a few minutes, pour this into the Dutch oven with the chicken pieces.  Add the chicken stock, tomato paste, chopped onion, carrots, celery, garlic,thyme and bay leaf as well as the rest of the red wine.

Being sure that the Dutch oven is tightly covered, place into the pre-heated oven and cook for 2 1/2 hours.  You can stir this occasionally, but if you forget, don't worry.

When done cooking, remove the chicken pieces to a heatproof dish.  Cover with foil to keep warm.  Strain the sauce left in the Dutch oven through a colander to remove all of the vegetable pieces and bay leaf.  Return the cleared liquid to the Dutch oven and place over a medium heat.  Bring to a gentle simmer and then let it cook until reduced by 1/3, about 30 minutes (this time can vary widely).

After 30 minutes, add the pearl onions, mushrooms and pork to the pot and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.  If the sauce seems too thin, whisk in an equal amount of flour and butter kneaded together and cook for another few minutes (start with 1 T. flour and 1 T. butter).    Return the chicken to the pot and then serve over cooked egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

This is a very wine-friendly dish.  A good rule of thumb is to drink whatever type of wine that was used in the recipe, but any red wine will be great as would a full bodied chardonnay.  And of course, Brut Champagne always goes with everything!


Chef Gordon Holmes is a Cast Member at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort where he has worked since the resort's opening in 1996. Since 2003 he has also worked as an Executive Chef and restaurant consultant. Previous stop include prestigous restaurants in New York City, New Orleans and Nemours (France).  Chef Gordon can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..