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Playing Coq au Vin


  • 6 tablespoons EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 2 parsnips, peeled, quartered lengthwise then cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise then cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • Butcher twine
  • 3 cups good quality, red Bordeaux or burgundy wine (eyeball it)
  • 3 bone-in, skin-off chicken breasts, each breast cut in half widthwise
  • 3 bone-in, skin-off chicken drumsticks
  • 3 bone-in, skin-off chicken thighs
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 8 to 10 pitted prunes, quartered
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen pearl onions
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Crusty bread, torn into chunks
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped (about 2 handfuls)


Serves: 4-5 servings


For the marinade, place a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Once hot, add the parsnips, carrots, onion and garlic, and cook, stirring every now and then for 3-4 minutes. Once the veggies are tender, transfer them to a large bowl to cool.

While the veggies are working, stack the bay leaves, thyme and rosemary in a little pile and tie the herbs together into a tight bundle using a piece of butcher twine. Add to the bowl of cooled veggies along with the wine. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat in the wine. Wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Marinate for no less than 6 and up to 24 hours.

Place a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the chopped bacon and cook until crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pot and reserve on a paper towel-lined plate.

While the bacon is cooking, remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and pat dry. Season thoroughly with salt and pepper and dredge in flour to coat. Shake off any excess and reserve.

Working with about 4 pieces at a time, place the flour-coated chicken pieces in the hot bacon fat and brown on both sides. Remove and reserve browned pieces on a plate, adding more EVOO if necessary to cook the rest of the pieces. If the bottom of the pan is getting super black, remove from the heat and wipe it out completely. Return to heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO. Once hot, carry on browning up the chicken.

Once all the chicken has been browned, add the reserved veggies and wine mixture to the pot along with the prunes. Bring up to a bubble, nestle the chicken down into the liquid and bring back up to a bubble. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat down to medium and cook for about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the chicken pieces.

If using fresh onions, bring about 5 cups of water to a boil in a medium-size sauce pot and season with salt. Once the water has come up to a boil, drop in the pearl onions. Cook until tender, 3-4 minutes. Once tender, dunk them into a large bowl of ice water to cool and then peel the outer skin and reserve.

To braise the onions, place a high-sided skillet over medium-low heat with 1/2 cup of water, sugar, butter and some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the onions and cook until lightly caramelized and slightly glazed, about 6-7 minutes.

To serve, divide the chicken and the sauce between 6 serving bowls. Arrange a couple of chunks of the bread down along the sides of the bowl, making sure the bread dips into the sauce a little bit. Top each bowl with some of the braised onions and some chopped parsley.