What I am about to share with you is only the best way to go about making Coq au Vin. As with most of the savoury dishes I share with you, it is more of a method and technique rather than an exact recipe. Just follow the key techniques and buy fantastic ingredients and your coq au vin can be as delicious as mine. I learnt how to make coq au vin the correct way when I worked in a restaurant in London called 1 Lombard Street. The chef/owner and the executive chef were incredibly proud of their coq au vin and would swan around the kitchen telling people so. It was indeed very very good. Tim the head chef would use every single frying pan and sauce pan in the building, sealing the chicken and vegetables off individually, and reducing various red wines down to burn the alcohol off. You don’t need to do that, but, little warning, coq au vin is a two-day process; a day to marinate and a day to cook. Also, you do need to buy the best chicken you can afford and de-bone it. So, it isn’t the quickest of dishes to make, but it is well worth the hassle. It also keeps very well in the fridge for up to a week.
Coq au vin means chicken or rooster in wine. It is as French as it gets: rich, full of amazing flavours and quite a crowd pleaser. It is also best enjoyed sparingly. What I mean is, you don’t want to feast on this stuff on any kind of regular basis. It’s what I would call a special-occasion food, if I were to use that kind of language. Anyway, the French have been at it for a while and there are apparently variations of the recipe dating back centuries. It is traditionally made with Burgundy wine and calls for older chickens with tougher legs. Whenever I shop at the Place D’Armes market in Monaco I buy the Poulet de Bresse. Apparently the Bresse chickens are the best in the world. They do have amazing flavour; however, they also have very tough lean, skinny legs. That’s when you realise they have been running and frolicking around for a couple of years instead of sitting in a cage. Further proof - not that we need any more proof - those juicy, meaty chicken legs most of us are used to are unfortunately unnatural.
Finally, before we get to it, here is a photo of the slightly disappointing presentation of my most recent coq au vin. My boss doesn’t care for button onions and mushroom. Bacon is a no as well. So, I am missing the three ingredients that are key to garnish the coq au vin. In cooking, I use the turkey instead of the pork bacon, but it is not the same. Oh well, c’est la vie. Here, for garnish I added a heart shaped croute and some crispy chicken skin. Please send in your presentation photo of your finished coq au vin to make even more of a mockery of mine!