WINE WITH…Coq au Vin Blanc
Coq au vin is one of France’s archetypal dishes. While it is usually made with red wine, the white wine adaptation has been a beloved
favorite throughout France for generations. This version is lighter and
somewhat more delicate than its sturdier red wine cousin, but the flavors are every bit as complex and perhaps even more wine friendly.
Classic coq au vin calls for a whole chicken, but because white meat cooks faster than dark, we find it more expedient to use just one or the other. We generally prefer more flavorful dark meat, but if white meat is your favorite, just reduce the cooking time a little. You may also prefer to use boneless, skinless meat, but bear in mind that it will be somewhat less flavorful.
Coq Au Vin Blanc
May be made a day or two ahead if desired
4-8 chicken thighs, preferably bone-in, skin-on
2 slices bacon
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced button or other mushrooms
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth or stock
2 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and set aside for about 10 minutes.
Cut the bacon in approximately ½ inch pieces (this is easiest to do if you use scissors or place the bacon the freezer for 10 minutes or so). Add the bacon pieces to a Dutch oven and cook until they have just browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a small plate lined with paper-towel and reserve.
Add the chicken to the pot, skin side down, and cook until nicely browned; then flip the pieces and sear other side (work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding). Remove the chicken and, if necessary, drain off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat.
Add the onion, carrots and mushrooms to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, then stir in the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pan and reserve them.
Pour the wine and chicken stock into the pot and, over high heat, reduce the liquids to about half (this should take about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, place the softened butter and the flour in a small bowl and mash them together with the back of a sturdy soup-spoon. When it is thoroughly combined, whisk this beurre manié into the reduced broth mixture; simmer, whisking a few minutes, until it is thoroughly blended into the liquid, then add the thyme, salt and pepper, and the bay leaf. Return all the other ingredients to the pot and simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
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We originally thought that we would try only white wines with this coq au vin, but one bite of the rich, meaty chicken sent us scurrying to the cellar for a bottle of red and a rosé, both of which worked as well as the whites we enjoyed. No matter the color, we found that the key to a successful wine pairing with this dish is to choose a wine with bright acidity. It then will complement the sauce. The five listed below did just that.