I found this recipe on a great blog called Half Baked Harvest a couple years ago and it has become on of our favorite wintery meals (we made this back in the beginning of March before the 80 degree weather started). The blog is very up front about the fact that this is not your traditional coq au vin that takes several hours to cook. Better yet, you only need one pot, or really two if you count the mashed potatoes! The sage brown butter mashed potatoes from the original recipe are also amazing if you have a chance to make them, but this time we just did our standard mashed potatoes.
Part of what allows you to do this coq au vin relatively quickly is the use of boneless chicken. Like in most of our recipes, we use chicken thighs because they have enough fat and flavor that they don’t dry out like chicken breasts but still cook faster than on-the-bone chicken.
The recipe on Half Baked Harvest also claims that the recipe only takes 45 minutes but we’ve found that it’s best to let the sauce reduce to a thicker consistency almost like a gravy which takes closer to an hour and a half. But once you finish with the prep you can pretty much let it simmer away while you do other things.
It’s funny to me that coq au vin has become synonymous in my mind with comfort food despite the fact that I don’t really know if I had ever eaten it until cooking this recipe. I don’t remember eating it growing up and I’ve had very few experiences in French restaurants. I did spend a little bit of time in Paris and the south of France but everything was so expensive that we pretty much ate baguettes with fruit, cheese, and cured meat for every meal.
And yet just the name coq au vin brings on a warm fuzzy feeling in my mind. I’m starting to wonder if it is just a pop cultural phenomenon leftover from the era of Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. But although these chefs brought French cuisine into American homes, I think coq au vin has for the most part remained that difficult to pronounce and even more difficult to make French meal for most Americans. I had certainly never attempted it at home because I assumed it would take upwards of three to four hours. But that’s why this recipe is the perfect! It may be cheating but it sure is delicious.