Coq au Vin (Hen in Wine)

Is it because the rooster is France’s national symbol that French people love to eat chicken so much? One thing is for certain: the traditional way to cook it, in wine, is mostly due to the fact that farmers would cook it when it was very old, and its flesh was less tender. Slow cooking in red wine makes everything better!

Serves: 8Hands-on: 40 minutesTotal: 2 hours 40 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 8


  • 4 lbs. rooster or hen, cut in chunks
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. sunflower oil
  • 4 oz. bacon, cut in 1⁄2-inch-wide matchsticks
  • 2 onions (1 peeled and sliced, 1 peeled)
  • 1⁄4 cup Cognac or brandy
  • 1 bottle (25 oz.) red wine
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves
  • 1⁄2 lb. whole small mushrooms


  • Have your butcher cut the hen or the rooster in big parts.
  • Put a large French oven or pot over medium heat. Melt the butter and the oil in it, combine them, then raise the heat to medium-high and add the bacon pieces. Let them melt; the fat should be released. Add the sliced onion. Stir well, and let it cook slowly with the bacon; they should become translucent, not brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the rooster/hen parts and get them to brown on each side for 5 minutes, turning halfway. Pour in the Cognac (be careful, it may flame!). Stir well, and slowly pour in the red wine. Add the garlic, bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper. Take the unpeeled onion and nail the cloves in it. Add to pot.
  • Add as much water as is needed to make sure that all the ingredients are covered by liquid. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to the lowest heat. Simmer for an hour and a half, stirring from time to time.
  • About 30 minutes before serving, add the mushrooms, and keep simmering.