This dish definitely makes me want to cook more French food. Maybe partially (or mostly) because of that bacon.
Coq au Vin is a French dish, meaning chicken with wine. Typically it’s cooked with red wine, button mushrooms, bacon and pearl onions. Seeing as I had half a bottle of white wine waiting to be used up; however, I decided to stray from the most traditional version.
When I stumbled upon Nigella Lawson’s recipe for “Coq au Riesling” in the New York Times website, I knew where that white wine was going! Granted, I used Pinot Grigio and didn’t exactly follow her recipe, but it was certainly well-appreciated inspiration.
In addition to using pinot, I also went the less traditional route and used crimini mushrooms and shallots, which I just happen to love. My technique was very deliberate, too. I made sure those chicken skins were dry and exposed throughout the cooking process, which made for some incredibly crispy skin. Not sure what’s my favorite part; the bacon, that sauce or that crispy, chicken skin-goodness. It’s a tough call. What I do know, is you should serve this over something starchy and creamy to soak up those juices. My Pureed Potatoes, would definitely be more French, but my Parmesan Polenta (as seen below) was the perfect compliment in my book.
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1lb)
- 4oz slab bacon or thick-cut bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 1T extra virgin olive oil
- 2T butter, divided
- 8oz cremini mushrooms, halved or quartered if large
- 3 medium shallots, sliced
- ¾ C dry white wine
- ½ C low sodium chicken broth
- 2T loosely packed parsley, chopped, divided
- 2T loosely packed tarragon, chopped, divided
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
Bring chicken to room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place bacon in a large, cold, oven-safe sauté pan. Cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes or until browned and crisp, lowering heat, if needed, to prevent burning. Remove bacon from pan using a slotted spoon, reserving oil in the pan. Increase heat to medium to medium-high. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Add to pan, skin side down, and cook 6-8 minutes or until browned. Flip and cook another 2-3 minutes, remove from pan and set aside.
Discard all but 2 teaspoons of oil in the pan. Add 1 tablespoon of butter. Add mushrooms and shallots to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and sauté 5-8 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown and shallots are translucent. Add wine to the pan, bring to a simmer and reduce slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Add bacon and chicken back to pan, skin side up. Add the broth and half of the herbs, making sure the chicken skin is not submerged in the liquid. The liquid should only go up ¾ of the way in order to encourage crispy skin. Bring the mixture to a simmer and transfer the pan to the oven.
Bake 45-60 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Every 15 minutes or so check if additional liquid is needed (you don’t want all of the liquid to evaporate). Add additional wine, broth or water as needed, making sure to taste along the way to keep the flavors balanced. If the mixture is too salty, for example, I suggest adding water or wine. Also make sure not to add wine towards the end of the cooking process as it needs to cook out to mellow in flavor. Place the pan on the stovetop and transfer the chicken to a platter. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the sauce and swirl until melted. Stir in remaining herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Serve chicken with sauce over my Parmesan Polenta, Pureed Potatoes or side dish of choice. Enjoy.