Coq au Vin: Yummy deliciousness

Did you know the magic ingredient to anything is hand-picked flowers from your boy?

I recently stumbled upon old Two Fat Ladies episodes and I've been in heaven ever since.   They're unapologetically unattractive, unhealthy, and yet ridiculously droll.  I love them! 

Take this episode for instance, they were cooking at some kind of army base or something, in a camouflaged tent.  Their gear and utensils swaying in the wind with the tent, their skirts whipping around their legs and Jennifer (the bespectacled one) is explaining the history of Coq au Vin.  

She says in her high-tea British voice (emphasis hers, not mine!), "[It was] originally made with an old cock, not an old hen, but an old cock because they had the flavor," and Jennifer, behind her to her left replies practically out of earshot with, "A lot of good in an old cock, isn't there?"

Then there's silence... a beat, maybe two, as Jennifer struggles for composure, "There's no use keeping one, you know, when it's past its prime."  And then they hurry along the rest of the recipe. 

So, if you happen to have "an old cock" lying about (or just a good old fashioned hen), you should try out this easy, fun, one-pot dish with layers of rich flavor.

 Let's see if I can discern my cooking instructions from the list Hawk got his hands on.

Coq au Vin

Serves: 4
Prep time: Marinate overnight, day-of prep requires approximately 30 minutes of chopping, and an 1 1/2 hours of cooking: total 2 hours.



  • 1 bottle good red wine (something you'd drink on its own)
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • a small handful of fresh parsley
  • a small handful of fresh thyme
  • 1 quartered chicken
  • 1 package of bacon, chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups worth)
  • 2 cups flour 
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • a small handful of fresh parsley
  • a small handful of fresh thyme
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 12 pearl onions, peeled
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped to the same size as the pearl onions
  • salt and pepper to taste

The ensemble.

The night before add the entire bottle of wine and herbs in a large pot and reduce by half.  In a non-reactive bowl add chicken and reduction, cover and refrigerate.

The most ominous looking chicken in the world.  According to the Two Fat Ladies, it's supposed to look "sinister."

Two hours before you want to eat cook the bacon in a large saute pan.  Remove from heat with slotted spoon to drain on paper towels, add a little olive oil to the fat and add onions.  Cook until translucent. 

 Mmm.  Bacon and booze.


While onions are cooking, thoroughly dry the chicken and dust lightly with flour; set marinade aside (don't toss it!).


Try to avoid getting dead chicken dust on your wine glass.

Add chicken skin side down to onion pan and brown each side just slightly, about 2 minutes per side.  With skin side up, add brandy and flamb√©.  Burn till the smell of brandy isn't as strong or until you see a really nice golden hue to the chicken skin

 This was by far one of the most fun cooking things I've ever done.

Transfer the chicken and onions into a dutch oven or pot with a lid, add the cooked bacon, the rest of the marinade, and the minced garlic.  Cook for one hour, but set a kitchen timer for 45 minutes so you can cook the pearl onions.

Employ a helper.

In a saute pan, melt butter, add sugar and onions.  Cook until golden brown (sadly, I have no pics of this step, but here's me in my apron).

Rock the Betty Crocker apron if you can.

Remove chicken from oven, pour in onions and butter, add cubed mushrooms.  Cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes or so. 

I got distracted and never took a picture of the final product, but you get the idea.  Let stand for about 10 minutes and serve.  It's like a chicken stew, so bread or some sort of starch goes deliciously well with it.

And by the way, I generally don't like chicken, but this is gooood.


[Edit add: If your three year old stuffs a piece of raw bacon in his mouth and chews it like gum, do not fear.  Something about the curing of it makes it a pretty safe piece of raw meat to gnaw on.]


  1. I had forgotten about the Two Fat Ladies. They are absolutely hysterical! Thanks for the reminder...and the recipe looks great too!

  2. this is the most hilarious thing i have read in a long long time...

    thank you. now...after a very stressful day, i will go to bed laughing!