Coq au Vin Blanc is a white wine version of the classic French chicken stew, the Coq au Vin. Julia Child introduced Coq au Vin to America back in the 1960s, but I think it failed to gain the popularity it should have. The main reason? Rubbery, soggy chicken skin. My solution, easy enough, take the skin off. The result is a great chicken stew that has a fresh, new feel to it.
After browning the chicken, I remove the skin from this Coq au Vin Blanc recipe, I can’t handle soggy chicken skin in a stew, lol. However, I do like to initially brown the chicken with the skin on it before removing and discarding it. There are a lot of flavors that comes from browning the skin and rendering the fat from it. Those little brown roasted bits in the bottom of the pot add incredible richness and flavor to the sauce.
Traditionally Coq au Vin is made with red wine. However, I have been making it with white wine, a Sauvignon Blanc for the last few years. This is the only way I make Coq au Vin now. Although the French name for this dish sounds extravagant to many Americans, it is really just a simple chicken stew. Unfortunately, most recipes for Coq au Vin have the skin still on the chicken pieces. It is difficult for many people to eat wet skin. I don’t have many food issues, I will eat almost anything, but wet chicken skin is one I can’t handle.
Burgundy is the wine most often associated with Coq au Vin. Although many variations of the dish use the local wines of the region. Riesling, Beaujolais, and Champagne are a few of the variations, but certainly not all.
I like to serve Coq au Vin Blanc with a starchy side that soaks up the delicious sauce, noodles, potatoes, etc. My favorite is rustic mashed potatoes with the skin on and green peas mashed in them. I normally make a very creamy mashed potato recipe, but for Coq au Vin Blanc I leave them a little drier. I want the mashed potatoes to soak up the sauce. A good rustic bread or baguette is also excellent.
Coq au Vin Blanc Ingredients
- Chicken: I use only dark meat in my Coq au Vin Blanc recipe. 4-thighs and 4-drumsticks. I brown them, then remove and discard the skin, and finish them by poaching in the delicious white wine sauce.
- Lardons of Bacon: Optional, sometimes I add crispy bacon as a garnish at the end, other times I omit this. Traditionally, Coq au Vin has this as one of the main ingredients. With Coq au Vin Blanc I cook the bacon in a separate pan, I don’t like the bacon flavor to overwhelm the stew, it’s just an accent as a garnish.
- Wine: I use a Sauvignon Blanc, it’s not too sweet and is one that I normally have on hand. Always use a wine that you enjoy drinking. My personal preference is a wine that is not very sweet.
- Veggies: Cremini mushrooms have a nice flavor and are readily available in most shops. Pearl onions, celery, and garlic add a nice flavor to the sauce. Carrots are one of my favorites in the stew, they add a nice color and round out the meal.
- Herbs: Flat-leaf parsley, a bay leaf, and thyme are all that is needed for great flavor.
- Roux: Browning the chicken skin on renders the chicken fat, add to that butter and all-purpose flour and you create a roux that thickens the wine into a velvety smooth sauce that flavors the entire Coq au Vin.
Here is my Coq au Vin Blanc recipe:
Coq au Vin Blanc
- 4 Chicken Thighs
- 4 Chicken Drumsticks
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 16 Ounces Cremini Mushrooms Sliced
- 1/4 Cup Celery 1/4-inch dice
- 3 Cups Carrots 1/2-inch dice
- 12 Ounces Pearl Onions Frozen, peeled
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 750 Mililiters Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme Or 2-Teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 Teaspoons Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Flat-Leaf Parsley Finely Chopped
- 1/4 Pound Bacon Optional, 1/2-inch dice, crispy
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Place a large heavy-bottomed, oven-proof pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and chicken, brown for 4-5 minutes on each side until nicely browned. Remove from the pot, and remove the skin. Discard the skin.
- Add the mushrooms, salt, and celery to the pot, cover, and let the mushrooms begin to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Remove the cover and saute until the liquid has almost evaporated.
- Add the butter and garlic, and saute for 1-minute. Add the flour and stir to coat all the ingredients thoroughly. Add the wine, pearl onions, bay leaf, and thyme then bring to a boil.
- Once at a low boil, add the chicken so that it is covered by the sauce. Place the uncovered pot into the preheated oven for approximately 35-40 minutes until the thighs register 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Mix in half of the parsley, serve the Coq au Vin Blanc, and sprinkle the top with remaining parsley and crispy bacon bits.