A tender, rich, and deeply flavorful chicken stew, coq au vin is the perfect family dinner.
Traditionally, stews were made in large, heavy pots buried in the coals of a fireplace, and they cooked all day. Today we have the luxury of using a slow cooker to braise our stews largely unattended. In as little as 30 minutes, you can prepare some warm winter meals that will simmer while you’re at work and the kids are at school.
You may also try the more traditional serving of putting lots of jus on your plate and serve it as a stew. Great for sopping up with bread.
Sear and smile
A slow cooker with an insert that can sear on the stovetop makes Coq au Vin truly a one-pot meal. This is a dish that takes a lot more than a half hour to prepare, but it’s worth every minute. Slow cooking all day gives you and your family a healthy meal available anytime you are ready.
The most important part of creating a stew is browning the meat and vegetables, so make sure they are dried well before cooking. Using a small amount of butter adds flavor and sheen to the dish. However, you could substitute by using all canola, vegetable, or olive oil. A fruity olive oil would give this dish a true country flavor.
Ready when you are
You can brown your ingredients the day before, cool them, and refrigerate them. Next morning, pop the insert into the slow cooker and set the dial. Not only will you have a delicious meal when you return home from work, but your house will smell like you’ve been slaving in the kitchen all day.
In France, coq au vin is served over egg noodles, but I like it paired with a roasted or steamed potato, a seasonal salad, and a chunk of good crusty bread. Oh, and don’t forget a nice red wine — for the adults only, please!
Coq aq Vin
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 3 sprigs Italian parsley
- 2 small bay leaves
- 1 whole chicken, cut up
- salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil, or more as needed
- ¾ pound pancetta, diced
- 1 cup frozen pearl onions, defrosted and dried
- 1 package cremini mushrooms, quartered or halved
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ bag mini carrots or 2 whole carrots, diced
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Tie the thyme, parsley, and bay leaves together with a piece of kitchen twine and set aside.
- Wash the chicken in cool water and dry well with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Place your Easy Sear Insert or sauté pan over a medium-high heat and add butter and oil. When the butter has melted, add the chicken, skin side down. Let it brown without moving before turning to the other side. Remove chicken and set aside while you prepare the vegetables.
- If needed, add 1 tablespoon canola oil to the pan, and then add the pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add pearl onions and sauté until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.
- Add garlic, carrots, and parsnip. Cook 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle vegetables with flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, until vegetables are well coated.
- Return the chicken to the pan in a single layer. Let the ingredients come to room temperature before continuing. If you are preparing the stew the day before, let the ingredients cool, then cover and place into the refrigerator.
- (If using a sauté pan, now’s the time to place all ingredients into your slow cooker insert).
- Place the insert into the slow cooker base, add remaining ingredients (the dry wine and chicken stock). Nestle the herb sachet among the chicken pieces. Cook on low for 6-10 hours. Remove the herbs before serving.