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Coq au Vin Blanc is one of those rare dishes that is dinner party elegant, but also homey and comforting. A simplified version of the French classic, this rich and deeply savory dish requires just a few simple, easy to find ingredients and a little bit of time.

Coq au Vin Blanc served in wide heavy green pot

Straying from a few of the traditional Coq au Vin ingredients: I swapped in white wine for red, used only chicken thighs instead of a variety of chicken pieces, and exchanged shallots for often elusive pearl onions. Though the ingredients and techniques are simpler, I promise you won’t have to sacrifice a bit of flavor.

You’ll cook this dish in stages using just one pot. First searing bone-in skin-on chicken thighs in bacon fat until golden brown then braising until meltingly tender in a savory fusion of wine, broth, mushrooms and a blend of aromatics. Serve with crusty bread or mashed potatoes because you won’t want to miss a drop of the luscious sauce.

Ingredients You Need to Make Coq au Vin Blanc

Coq au Vin Blanc Ingredients on a white marble board
  • Bone-in Skin on Chicken Thighs: Buy thighs of similar size for even cooking.
  • Bacon: Thick cut bacon is best for cutting into lardons. (see image below)
  • Shallots: Or pearl onions, your choice.
  • Yellow Onion: Look for a firm onion with shiny skin.
  • Garlic: Look for a plump head of garlic with smooth, tight skin.
  • Mushrooms: Button mushrooms or cremini mushrooms, your choice.
  • Dried Thyme Leaves: Or fresh thyme leaves and sprigs for garnish if you like.
  • Dry White Wine: Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc or other dry white wine.
  • Chicken Broth: Or chicken stock.
  • Butter: Salted or unsalted, whatever you have on hand.
  • Fresh Parsley: For garnish, optional.
  • Thyme Sprigs: For garnish, optional.
cutting thick cut bacon into lardons
Cutting Thick Cut Bacon into Lardons

Traditional Flavors, Simplified Method

Often Coq au Vin Blanc preparation begins with the chicken marinating overnight. I’ve included this as a recipe option, but it’s not a necessity. Renowned for their flavor and tenderness, chicken thighs absorb ample flavor during the braise and don’t require extra marinating time. This same day method is convenient for times when you want an easy and elegant meal for family, friends, and special occasions.

Instead of red wine, you’ll use a dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, or Pinot Blanc. I don’t recommend Chardonnay with its low acidity and characteristic oaky flavor.

Though pearl onions are traditional in this dish, they can be a challenge to find. Shallots on the other hand are easy to find and make a great stand in with their mild, sweet flavor. That said, if you do come across pearl onions (fresh or frozen), they do add a lovely visual element to the dish.

Coq au Vin Blanc served in wide heavy green pot

For ease and even cooking, I’ve broken from tradition, opting for just bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs instead of the various pieces of a cut up whole chicken.

I skipped the brandy flambé, a risky method that many home cooks, including me, aren’t interested in.

Following tradition, the chicken, mushrooms and aromatics sauté in the flavorful fat rendered from bacon lardons.

Reducing the sauce at the end until thick and creamy avoids the use of any thickeners like flour or cornstarch. In lieu of heavy cream, swirling in a couple of tablespoons of butter before serving adds extra richness.

FAQ:

What is traditionally served with Coq au Vin?

Round out the meal with a simple green salad with Champagne Vinaigrette or this Arugula Salad and Mashed Red Potatoes or crusty bread. For an extra decadent meal, serve alongside Gratin Dauphinois.

What is the best wine for Coq au Vin Blanc?

Dry white wine is the best choice for Coq au Vin Blanc. Dry white wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, or Pinot Blanc aren’t sweet, but crisp and acidic. Remember that cooking wine intensifies rather than dulls its flavor, so be sure to use a wine that you’d be happy to drink by the glass.

Does the alcohol cook out of Coq au Vin?

Alcohol does not cook out quickly. According to the US Department of Agriculture, up to 75% of the alcohol remains even after a flambé! With the 30 minute cooking time, about 65% of the alcohol will remain (it takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours to cook it out completely).

What kind of chicken is used for Coq au Vin?

Coq au Vin is typically prepared with the various individual pieces of a cut-up chicken. However, here it’s simplified just using just bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, for ease and even cooking.

How to Make Coq au Vin Blanc

Step 1: In a large, heavy bottomed pot, cook bacon lardons until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon.

cooking bacon lardons and transferring to paper towel

Step 2: Brown seasoned chicken thighs on both sides in hot bacon fat and transfer to platter.

browning chicken thighs in bacon fat

Step 3: Add shallots, onion, and garlic to pot and sauté until softened. Add mushrooms and thyme; cook and stir 5 minutes more. Add wine and broth; bring to boil. Arrange chicken skin side up in pot; sprinkle bacon lardons over. Reduce heat and cover; simmer 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter.

cooking shallots onion and mushrooms in bacon fat
adding broth wine bacon and chicken to onion mushroom mixture and covering to simmer

Step 4: Increase heat and cook sauce until thick and creamy, 8 to 10 minutes. Add butter and stir to melt; season to taste with salt and pepper. Return chicken to sauce and simmer until heated through, spooning sauce over the top. Garnish as desired and serve directly from pot or arrange on a platter.

reducing coq au vin blanc sauce
coq au vin blanc ready to serve

Recipe Video

Coq au Vin Blanc

4.96 from 25 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Calories: 761
Servings: 4 people
A succulent and simplified white wine version of the French classic dish, Coq au Vin.

Ingredients  

  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs 3 to 3-1/2 pounds
  • 4 strips thick cut bacon thinly sliced crosswise into lardons
  • 8 ounces shallots diced large (1/2-inch), or peeled pearl onions
  • 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or chardonnay
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • fresh thyme sprigs for garnish, optional
  • finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • Pat chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Cook bacon lardons until crisp and fat has rendered in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat (I use a 3.5 quart braiser). Transfer lardons to paper towel lined plate with slotted spoon.
  • Place a single layer of chicken thighs, skin-side down into hot bacon fat. Cook until skin has browned, then turn to brown other side (about 8 minutes total). Transfer to platter and repeat with remaining chicken thighs.
  • Add shallots, onion, and garlic to pot; cook and stir until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme; cook and stir 5 minutes more. Stir in white wine and broth; bring to boil. Add chicken skin-side up and any accumulated juices along with lardons to pot; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter.
  • Increase to medium-high heat and bring sauce to boil; cook 8 to 10 minutes more until sauce thickens. Stir in butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and return chicken to pot; simmer until heated through, spooning some of the sauce over the top. Serve from Dutch oven or arrange on deep platter. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and parsley if desired.

Notes

  1. Note that this make 4 generous servings. If you’re serving vegetables and mashed potatoes, pasta or other filling sides, it would easily serve 6.

Nutrition

Calories: 761kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 251mg | Sodium: 599mg | Potassium: 1030mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 375IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Leave a comment & rate the recipe below!

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60 Comments

  1. Pamela says:

    5 stars
    Made this fabulous recipe tonight for our 20th anniversary dinner…it was easy yet very special for our celebration dinner! Served with garlic mashed Yukon golds, sherried green beans, and Sauvignon Blanc (the same one I used in the Coq au Vin)! Thank you so much for this gem of a recipe. Also appreciated that your instructions were so clear and easy to follow.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      aww, Pamela, you made my day! Sounds like a wonderful meal! Thanks so much for your sweet comment.

  2. Karen L says:

    5 stars
    I made this for a dinner party. I prepped everything after work the night before so it was super easy to cook the next day. I’ve made it before from a cooking class recipe. I have to say, this was much easier and tasted far better. A definite hit!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      That’s such a nice compliment, Karen. Thank you! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipe.

  3. Chuck says:

    Is there something missing from Step 4 of your instructions?

    “Add chicken skin-side up and any accumulated juices along with lardons to pot (chicken should be; ???? reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter.”

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Nothing missing, just a typo. Thanks for catching that, Chuck!

  4. patrick lynch says:

    5 stars
    Cooked this many times , always a crowd pleaser

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      So happy to hear that, Patrick! Thank you for coming back to let me know.