Coq Au Vin was one of the first recipes I tried out in the slow-cooker. The version you see below is far from traditional, but it captures the essence of what I love about the original.
While you don’t strictly need to brown ingredients before adding them to a slow-cooker, doing so brings a richer flavor to this dish.
One note about wine: Don’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink. Cooking will intensify the flavors in the wine. If you use a cheap wine that you don’t really like the flavor of, you won’t be happy with the final dish.
What you need:
- 1 3/4 to 2 lbs (about eight) boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- salt, to taste (course-ground sea salt or kosher salt both work well)
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- about 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 5 slices of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 tbs unsalted butter (or extra virgin olive oil)
- 12 oz of crimini mushrooms, quartered. (White button mushrooms would work too.)
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. pieces
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped. (If you like garlic, as I do, you can bump this up.)
- 2/3 cup chicken broth. (If using store-bought, make sure its low-sodium)
- 1 1/2 cups Merlot wine
- 3 to 4 sprigs of fresh thyme.
What you do:
In a medium dish, (an 8 inch glass baking dish, for example) season the flour with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the chicken in the seasoned flour and set aside.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until the bacon is just crisp and the fat has rendered out. Keep the drippings in the pan, but drain the bacon on paper towels and set aside.
Add the chicken to the sauté pan and cook in the rendered bacon drippings until lightly browned. (About 3 minutes per side.) Set chicken aside.
Add the mushrooms to the remainder of the rendered bacon drippings and sauté until the edges begin to brown. (They will probably soak up the rest of the drippings.) Add the butter, carrots, onions, garlic and a large pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables just begin to soften. Transfer the vegetables to the slow-cooker.
Use the the chicken broth to deglaze the sauté pan, then add it to the slow-cooker. Arrange the browned chicken on top. Sprinkle the bacon over the chicken. Add the wine and the thyme sprigs.
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, or on high for about 3.5 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if desired. Remove thyme sprigs before serving.