This Dutch oven Coq au Vin recipe is true the to the classic; tender chicken and hearty vegetables cooked low and slow with layers of flavor in a rich, velvety red wine-based broth. It’s perfect for date night dinner and it takes just an hour to make from start-to-finish!
This traditional stew hails from the eastern region of France known as Burgundy. Coq au Vin is a classic dish that involves chicken and aromatic vegetables slow-cooked in red wine with layers of flavor.
Coq au Vin might sound intimidating, but it’s not. If you’ve ever made a stew before, you’re already familiar with the process. And you might be surprised to know that this meal whips up in only one hour!
The most incredible thing about this dish is the sauce. It’s luxurious: incredibly savory with a well-balanced flavor profile. And the texture is magnificent; it’s velvety and rich without being thick, the way some stew recipes can be. You’re going to love it!
True to its French country roots, Coq au Vin strikes the perfect balance between rustic and elegant. This is quite a romantic meal that’s perfect for a date night dinner at home. But don’t wait for Valentine’s Day to make it!
Chicken in red wine is also great for no-fuss entertaining. If you’re having company over and are trying to decide what to make, this meal is always a crowd-pleaser.
And if you’re wondering what to serve with Coq au Vin, keep it simple and go for mashed potatoes, steamed rice, or buttered noodles. Any side dish that will soak up the gorgeous sauce is perfect!
As far as healthy comfort foods for fall and winter dinners, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It’s a simplified version of Coq au Vin. Without sacrificing the traditional elements of the classic recipe, Dutch oven Coq au Vin is approachable for cooks of any level. And it cooks up in just one hour, which means that it’s doable even on weeknights!
- It makes just four servings. This romantic date night dinner is perfect for you and your sweetie. You can both have seconds, or save leftovers for one more meal (because Coq au Vin is even better the next day!). Or serve it to a family of four.
- This meal might look fancy, but it’s relatively inexpensive. We use chicken thighs, which are an affordable cut of chicken. Bacon is a potentially pricey ingredient, but if you don’t feel like buying a whole pack of bacon, I give instructions in the recipe card below on what you can use instead. You might be thinking that the most expensive part of this meal is the red wine, but you can typically find a cheap bottle of red wine (at your local grocery store if they carry wine, or at a wine shop) for around less than $10.
The Best Coq au Vin Recipe – A Romantic Date Night Dinner!
Ingredients in Easy Coq au Vin
- Beef bacon – or any type of bacon you like (if you use turkey bacon, sauté it in 2 tablespoons olive oil); if you don’t want to use bacon, you can skip it and use 2 tablespoons of oil to sear the chicken; if you have it on hand, add 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika for smoky flavor
- Chicken thighs – we want bone-in skin-on chicken thighs for the most flavor
- Salt and black pepper – to season our dish
- Onion – we use two types of onion in this Dutch oven Coq au Vin; this is just your basic kitchen onion (such as a yellow cooking onion) that’s chopped and sautéed with the carrot and mushrooms to add depth of flavor
- Carrot – a classic ingredient in Coq au Vin; carrot adds a subtle sweetness to this recipe
- Button mushrooms – another traditional ingredient in chicken in red wine recipes
- Garlic – for aroma and savory depth of flavor
- Fresh thyme – fresh herbs brighten this dish; however, you can use about 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves if you don’t have fresh
- Dry red wine – such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, or Beaujolais
- Chicken stock – use a good-quality homemade or store-bought chicken stock
- Tomato paste – adds body to the broth, as well as depth of flavor
- All–purpose flour – this is used to thicken the broth
- Pearl onions – this traditional ingredient adds a touch of natural sweetness; look for pearl onions in the frozen vegetables aisle at the grocery store
- Minced fresh parsley – this garnish adds a beautiful pop of green color
How to Make Dutch Oven Coq au Vin
Step 1: Get the Prep Work Done:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Measure out all the ingredients and chop what needs to be chopped.
Step 2: Build the Base Flavors:
Heat a 5-quart Dutch oven or a large, deep skillet with a heavy bottom over medium heat. Once hot, add the bacon and cook until crispy, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a bowl, and leave the rendered bacon grease in the pan.
Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season both sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Turn the heat up to high in the pan and sear the chicken thighs until browned on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Use tongs to transfer the chicken thighs to a plate.
Turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion, carrot, and mushroom to the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Step 3: Deglaze with Red Wine:
Add the wine. Once boiling, let it boil for 1 minute.
Step 4: Let it Go Low and Slow:
Stir in the chicken stock, tomato paste, flour, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and crisped bacon. Once simmering, add the chicken thighs (skin side up), nestling them into the liquid but not fully submerging them. Let them cook on the stovetop like this (uncovered) for 5 minutes.
Add the pearl onions on top.
Cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
Step 5: Finishing Touches:
Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve along with mashed potatoes, rice, or buttered noodles.
Coq au Vin Recipe FAQs
What is Coq au Vin?
Traditional Coq au Vin recipe is a true French classic.
The term coq au vin translates to “rooster in wine”, or what we know as chicken in wine.
The secret behind why Coq au Vin is so good is that this dish builds layers of flavor in every step.
It starts with crisped bacon (or lardons or pancetta) as the base flavor. Bone-in, skin-on chicken is seared in the bacon drippings, and then aromatic vegetables, such as onion, carrot, and mushroom are sautéed in the bacon and chicken drippings. Also, pearl onion is a classic component that adds a touch of natural sweetness.
If you think this stew couldn’t possibly get any more flavorful, red wine and chicken stock provide a perfectly balanced cooking liquid. A little flour and tomato paste add body and slightly thicken the sauce to create a velvety, rich texture.
Garlic and thyme are classic seasonings in Coq au Vin, and other than that, salt and pepper are all you need.
In true French country fashion, this stew manages to strike a perfect balance between rustic and elegant.
What Type of Wine is Best for Coq au Vin?
Coq au Vin is from a region in eastern France called Burgundy (aka Bourgogne). That area is known for amazing Burgundy wine, such as Pinot Noir, which is a light to medium-bodied dry red wine.
A few other good wine options for making chicken in red wine are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, and Beaujolais.
Can You Taste the Wine in Coq au Vin?
This recipe uses an equal mix of red wine and chicken stock as the liquids. You can taste the flavor of red wine in the dish, so make sure to use a red wine that you enjoy the flavor of.
And note that the flavor of the wine in Coq au Vin becomes more subtle as it mellows over time. By the next day, you won’t be able to taste it nearly as much.
What to Serve with Coq au Vin
- Mashed potatoes
- Buttered noodles
More Romantic Dinner and Dessert Recipes
- Grilled Ribeye Steak Dinner – no steakhouse needed for the perfect romantic meal
- Marry Me Chicken – rumored to be good enough for a marriage proposal! But I think the real magic of this recipe is that it whips up in just 15 minutes
- Spaghetti Marinara – you and your sweetheart can feed each other pasta in true Lady and the Tramp style
- Decadent Chocolate Valentine’s Day Cake For Two – bakery quality cake right in your own kitchen, this is the perfect sweet treat to end your meal
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Dutch Oven Coq au Vin Recipe (French Chicken in Red Wine)
- 2 slices beef bacon diced
- 4 large chicken thighs bone-in and skin-on
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt divided
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper divided
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 medium carrots peeled and cut into thick slices
- 4 ounces button mushrooms dirt wiped off and halved or quartered depending on size
- 2 large cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
- 3/4 cup dry red wine
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 cup pearl onions thawed if frozen
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Optional Serving Suggestions:
- Prepared mashed potatoes rice, or buttered noodles
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Heat a 5-quart Dutch oven or a large, deep skillet with a heavy bottom over medium heat. Once hot, add the bacon and cook until crispy, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a bowl, and leave the rendered bacon grease in the pan.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season both sides with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Turn the heat up to high in the pan and sear the chicken thighs until browned on each side, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Use tongs to transfer the chicken thighs to a plate.
- Turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion, carrot, and mushroom to the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Add the wine. Once boiling, let it boil for 1 minute.
- Stir in the chicken stock, tomato paste, flour, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and crisped bacon. Once simmering, add the chicken thighs (skin side up), nestling them into the liquid but not fully submerging them. Let them cook on the stovetop like this (uncovered) for 5 minutes.
- Add the pearl onions on top.
- Cover the pan and cook for 30 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
- Sprinkle the parsley on top and serve along with mashed potatoes, rice, or buttered noodles.
- Nutritional Information: The nutrition information for this recipe was calculated without the optional serving suggestions.
- Bacon: I don’t eat pork, so beef bacon is typically my preference for bacon. If you don’t want to use beef bacon, you can use any type of bacon you like. However, if you use turkey bacon, sauté it in 2 tablespoons olive oil. If you don’t want to use bacon at all, you can skip it and use 2 tablespoons of oil to sear the chicken; if you have it on hand, add 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika for smoky flavor.
- Storage and Reheating: Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. I like to reheat it on the stovetop. If you want to crisp up the chicken skin, you can heat it separately from the stew. To do so, simply remove the chicken and reheat it in a 400F oven until warm, about 15 minutes.
I’m making this for tomorrow night’s dinner! I’ve always used sage in anything I cook that involves poultry. Would it be a good addition, or is the flavor of this recipe best without it?
Betsy, I love sage with poultry too – I think it would be a great addition here!