Coq au vin casserole of chicken in red wine

The first time I made coq au vin for one of my Le Creuset cooking demonstrations, I was convinced that I was either going to burn my eyebrows off or injure some innocent bystander. Flambéing is dramatic, and always gets my heart racing with that noise it makes as it ignites. Yet the drama is part of the fun, as you always get some “oohs” and “aahs” when people see those flames shoot up in the air. This recipe is adapted from Williams-Sonoma and the queen of coq au vin, Julia Child.

4 tablespoons clarified butter
6 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch (1.25 cm) pieces
2 cups (200 g) pearl onions or sliced yellow onions
4 skin-on chicken breasts and 4 skin-on chicken thighs, or an assortment of chicken that equals about 4 pounds (2 kg)
2 tablespoons almond flour
2 tablespoons warm brandy
2 cups (500 mL) pinot noir or other medium-bodied red wine
½ tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 bay leaf
~ salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups (250 g) button mushrooms, halved

  1. In a large Dutch oven over medium/medium-low heat, melt 3 of the tablespoons of butter.
  2. Add the bacon and onions, stir, and cook until bacon is somewhat browned and crispy (about 10 minutes). Transfer the bacon and onions to a plate and set aside.
  3. Bring the heat up to medium high, and add the chicken, turning as needed to ensure all sides brown. Sprinkle the almond flour on the chicken, and turn, cooking until golden brown. Remove the Dutch oven from the stove, pour in the brandy over the chicken and let get hot for a moment, and immediately ignite with a long match. The flames will subside in a few seconds.
  4. Stir the bacon and onions back into the chicken, and place back on the stove over medium heat. Add in 1 cup (250 mL) of the wine, and scrape up any of the fond (brown bits) that may be on the bottom of your pan.
  5. Add in the rest of the wine and all the remaining ingredients except the mushrooms and 1 remaining tablespoon of butter. Stir and bring heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 45–60 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  6. About 20 minutes before the chicken is done, in a small sauté pan melt the butter and sauté the mushrooms until golden brown. Add these to the chicken.
  7. This part is optional, but highly recommended: using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the chicken, mushrooms, onions and bacon to a platter. Raise the heat in the pan up to high, bring to a boil, and cook until liquid has thickened slightly and is reduced by about half. Return the chicken, mushrooms, onion and bacon back to the pan, heat through for a few minutes, and serve.

Tips & Tricks—Please use caution with the brandy, and don’t decide that you’re going to up the amount of alcohol to some crazy amount (more alcohol = more of a bonfire effect), and please don’t pour directly from the bottle. This is a serious hazard and could cause the flames to ignite the contents of the bottle. As stated with other recipes that use alcohol in cooking, if you prefer not to use, that is just fine too (but it won’t taste quite the same). Replace the wine and brandy with some chicken stock and add just a touch of balsamic vinegar for some tangy flavor.