Favorite Rooster Recipes: Coq au Vin

What follows is my latest incarnation of Coq au Vin (or Rooster Stewed in Wine). Coq au Vin is a simple and delicious chicken stew that can be as complicated as you like. It does take advance prep to marinate and (if you’re using a rooster) plenty of time to stew.
Except for the mushrooms everything on this plate came from our homestead:

Except for the mushrooms, everything on this plate came from our homestead: rooster, onions, shallots, garlic, thyme, potatoes, goat milk (for the mashed potatoes) and chard. So good. So good.

Now I know most of you who are not raising your own chickens will not be able to obtain a rooster. I don’t think store bought chicken has enough “ooh la la” to handle Coq au Vin, but if you’ve never had rooster, then you won’t know what you’re missing. You just won’t need to stew it as long.

I came across a wonderful website detailing one man’s quest for an authentic Coq au Vin recipe. Unfortunately I couldn’t locate it again to post the link here. He wrote that “traditonally” a 2-3 year old rooster would be used. We almost never have a rooster that old. Usually we’re butchering at 5-8 months. However, I have to add that it’s easy to get caught up in the details of modern retellings of “peasant” type cuisine. My own peasant-style cooking dictates that whatever I have on hand is what goes in the recipe. That said, I love to include mushrooms in Coq au Vin if I have them or can coordinate my grocery shopping with butchering day. – Jen

Coq Au Vin
(This version is loosely adapted from looking at recipes from the Epicurious website and previous experience making Coq au Vin).

For the marinade:
1 rooster, cut into 6-8 pieces (I usually keep the wings for making stock.)
1 bottle of wine (This permutation used a ho-hum Blackstone Merlot, but people can get really fussy about the wine they use. Ho hum.)
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 shallots, smashed (Optional. I don’t always have shallots on hand, but we had a great crop this year.)
3 bay leaves

For the stew:
6 slices bacon (I used up an end of salt pork from our home-butchered pig.)
3 medium onions, chopped into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Handful shallots, chopped (Our shallots from the garden were smallish.)
1 pound mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini.)
Bacon grease or olive oil
6 stems fresh thyme
2-3 cups reduced or regular stock or more wine to cover (I use homemade unsalted condensed stock. Adjust salt accordingly if you’re using store bought stock.)
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For those of you butchering your own rooster
: After butchering, I separate the rooster into drumsticks, thighs, four breast pieces and put them in water in a glass tupperware dish and then keep covered in the fridge for at least two days. I put the back, neck and wings into the stock pot and cover generously with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer off and on for two days. (this is my lazy stock: simmer until I have to go out, then turn off and leave on the stove, then turn back on when I get back inside. At night I just put it outside to keep cool, then start er back up in the am. After a few days, I strain out the meat and bones, and then reduce by half.) For this particular gastronomic event, the rooster was soaking in water for four days before I got around to making the stew.

1 day ahead: Marinate the Rooster:
Soak the rooster pieces, garlic, bay leaves and shallots in wine to cover, overnight, up to two days. Usually I add thyme leaves here, but this particular time I prepped the dish late at night and didn’t feel like going out in the garden. Plus it was raining. Also, many recipes will call for chopped onions and carrots to go in the marinade. I like doing this too, but was too lazy this time.

To Make the Stew:
1. In a 3 quart minimum heavy pot (I use a Le Creuset, but you could use any stainless steel), cook bacon until browned.  Remove to a plate. If there is not enough fat from the bacon, add bacon grease or olive oil, heat and brown the rooster pieces. Sometimes I just leave the bacon in. Remove to a plate when browned.
2. Add bacon grease or olive oil as needed in order to saute onions. Saute onions with sea salt till tender, add garlic and shallots and saute for a minute or so. Add thyme. If the pot gets dry I just throw in some wine. Add the mushrooms and saute for several minutes. Add rooster pieces, marinade and additional liquid to cover to the rooster pieces. I add wine if I have a bottle open. This time I used two cups of condensed home-made stock, salt free. Add freshly cracked black pepper to taste. I used probably just over a half-teaspoon.
3. Cover the pot, bring contents to a simmer, reduce heat and simmer, cover ajar, until the rooster is tender, 2-5 hours, depending on your stove and the rooster. I only had to simmer a few hours till he was falling off the bone. At this point, I take off the lid and simmer more vigorously to reduce liquid. This step will depend on how much gravy you want with your stew. We like a lot to pour over mashed potatoes, so I don’t reduce too much. I also don’t add flour at any stage, because I like the natural gravy that long stewing creates.
4. Serve with mashed potatoes (I keep them lumpy and simple -not too much butter or milk to compete with the rich gravy. Definitely no cheese!) and steam-sauteed greens. A favorite is kale or collards, but we served chard last night since we expected a frost, and the chickens have been getting out and having their way with it. Red wine accompanied the meal. And for dessert, of course, homemade apple pie with the last apples from our trees. Bon appetit!

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15 Responses to Favorite Rooster Recipes: Coq au Vin

  1. Michael Downing says:

    Hi, we do not eat pork so is there something I could use instead of bacon??? Also I would like to see your Rooster pot pie recipe…

  2. Hi Michael,
    The bacon or salt pork is just for flavor, so you can omit it from the coq au vin recipe -it will still be delicious! We just butchered a few roosters today so recipes for rooster paprikash with homemade noodles and rooster pot pie, coming right up.

  3. Leiah says:

    I’m so excited to have found you here being a south valley resident and aspiring homesteader ! I’m really looking forward to exploring your blog.

  4. Thanks, Leiah! I hope you enjoy it. We host a free open house a couple of times a year. If you like to be on our mailing list for announcements, please send us an email at orders[at]sunstoneherbs[dot]com – Tree

  5. Pingback: Special Order Rooster Story and Recipes « Beneficial Farms CSA

  6. Fiona says:

    Hi there from New Zealand
    We butchered our first rooster, gbutted and not entirely successfully plucked him about 6 weeks ago (he was a very mean and tyrannical rooster, not at all like our other roosters we had while living in Scotland).
    Then we froze him, oh about 6 hours later. Now he is sitting defrosting on the kitchen bench. I suppose I could cut him up and brine him in the fridge now?
    Oh, and to the person who said they don’t eat pork, we don’t either, not do we use wine, but we find a wee bit of toasted sesame oil added while cooking onions helps to give that smoky bacon flavour, as does smoked paprika. For wine, we put a wee bit of white (or red) wine vinegar in a jug, add some water and sweetening and it does the trick.

    And in New Zealand, you can ask the butcher to make you a mutton ham (with or without nitrates depending on the butcher). It is delicious used in the place of bacon for casseroles etc.

    Thanks for the rooster recipes. Glad I looked you up before popping Rufus in the slow cooker!


  7. Hey Fiona,
    Mean roosters=soup pot. Thanks for the tips on baconless cooking. Hope Rufus was tasty! Jen

  8. Ginny says:

    If you can find smoked sea salt it give a smoky bacon-like flavor. It is so good on everything.

  9. Mmmm. Smoked sea salt. Great idea!

  10. I made a great variation on coq au vin–“rigatoni with braised chicken and saffron cream.” It was just unbelievably delicious!

  11. Hmmm…that doesn’t look too much like a variation on coq au vin, but it sure looks good.

  12. Alissa says:

    So glad to have found this recipe! We belong to a CSA/Buying Club, and have decided to try one of the “Thanksgiving Specials,” a Rhode Island rooster. Cannot wait to get him now bc I’ve never made coq au vin before, but have always wanted to!

  13. Ceara says:

    Can u go ahead n add onions and carrots etc to the stock or will it mess up the final dish?

  14. Sure, you can add onions and carrots to the stock. Strain if you care about having the extra veggies in your meal.

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