Coq au vin blanc is a cozy and comforting one pot meal that is perfect for serving to friends and family. This simplified version of the traditional French dish features bone-in chicken that has been stewed in a buttery white wine sauce with bacon, mushrooms and pearl onions.
This recipe is a modern take on French peasant food that takes nods from the famous recipes of Julia Child and Jacques Pepin with common ingredients and simplified techniques. It's a lovely meal to serve for a cozy family dinner, but is is also special enough to serve at elegant dinner parties or an intimate holiday gathering.
For another simple stewed chicken recipe, try our Cider Braised Chicken Thighs.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- One Pot Meal - Who doesn't love an elegant home cooked dinner that only takes one pot! This dish can be made in any deep skillet or Dutch oven that is safe for the stove top and oven baking.
- Easy Preparation - After about 30 minutes of prep and stovetop sautéing, this dish goes straight in the oven to braise and leaves you plenty of time to visit with your guests or put your feet up.
- Perfect for Entertaining - Aside from being a crowd pleasing entree, this dish is easy to prepare ahead of time. In fact, you can even make this dish a day ahead of time and let the flavors meld overnight. It reheats easily on the stovetop or in the oven.
- Simple Ingredients - Unlike some fancy feeling meals, this dish is made with common, easy-to-find ingredients.
- Inexpensive - This dish is derived from a classic peasant dish that transforms relatively inexpensive ingredients into a meal that tastes rich and luxurious.
What is Coq au Vin Blanc?
Coq au vin blanc is an old-school French dish made from slowly simmering chicken, lardon, mushrooms and pearl onion in white wine. It is a lighter and brighter version of a classic coq au vin, made using red wine. Originally, this dish was made with rooster (coq). The rooster tended to have a tougher texture and required a long slow braising technique to become tender.
Traditionally, coq au vin is made from a whole bone in chicken, cut into 8 pieces. The original versions of this dish call for overnight marinating in wine before slow simmering for several hours.
For this version of coq au vin blanc, you are welcome to use any cut of bone in chicken that you like. I personally prefer this dish with dark meat chicken and like to use bone in thighs and drumsticks.
- Chicken - This recipe calls for skin-on, bone-in chicken. You can use a whole chicken, or pre butchered pieces. We like to use dark meat and opted for thighs and legs. You can use bone in breasts, or a combination, if preferred.
- For a French inspired whole chicken recipe, try our Cast Iron Roast Chicken with White Wine Pan Sauce.
- White wine - Use a nice dry white wine that has nice acidity and isn't too oaky. We used a pinot blanc, but an unoaked chardonnay or sauvignon blanc are nice options. We recommend using a wine you like to drink and serving it with this dish for a perfect pairing.
- Chicken Stock - Preferably homemade. We use our Chicken Feet Bone Broth recipe.
- Pearl Onions - If you don't want to bother tediously peeling pearl onions, you can use frozen pearl onions or substitute a large shallot or yellow onion.
- Herbs - Bay leaf and fresh thyme add a lovely herbaceous flavor to the sauce. I like to finish the dish with a little chopped parsley (not pictured) for a splash of color.
How To Make White Wine Stewed Chicken
1. Start by cooking the sliced mushrooms in a dry Dutch oven. Allow the mushrooms to steam, stirring frequently until they are about half their original size. Then, add in a drizzle of olive oil and allow the mushrooms to cook, undisturbed, to get a nice golden color. Remove the mushrooms from the Dutch oven and set aside.
2. Then cook the lardons (bacon), stirring frequently until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan, leaving behind all of the bacon grease. Set the bacon aside on a paper towel lined plate.
3. Next you need to brown the chicken pieces in the bacon grease. Cook the chicken skin side down until golden and crispy, about 3 - 5 minutes. You may need to brown the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
4. As the chicken becomes golden, remove the browned chicken pieces from the Dutch oven and set aside. With the last batch of chicken add in the pearl onions and brown those a little, too. You can leave the onions in the pan while you build the braising sauce.
5. Add the garlic and whisk in the white wine and chicken stock while scraping any fond (browned bits) from the bottom of the pan. Add the fresh thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a gentle simmer.
6. Once the sauce is simmering, add the chicken (skin side up) to the sauce. Transfer the Dutch oven to the preheated oven and allow the coq au vin to braise for 40 minutes.
Pro Tip: Succulent Stewed Chicken - Chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat at an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit. However, for slow cooked dark meat chicken - I recommend cooking to an internal temperature of 190° - 200° Fahrenheit. This higher temperature helps to break down connective tissues and ensures tender, melt in your mouth chicken.
For the best results use an instant read thermometer. We recommend this thermometer from ThermosWorks.
7. Meanwhile, make the beurre manie. A beurre manie is just equal parts of flour and softened butter that is used to thicken a sauce. It is similar to a roux but can be added at the end of the cooking process.
Substitution Suggestion: Gluten Free Coq au Vin - If you need to make this dish gluten free, you can thicken this sauce with a cornstarch slurry, instead. Whisk 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons of cold water or stock. Whisk the slurry (and butter) into the sauce in place of the beurre manie, in the next step. Important: Since cornstarch breaks down easier than flour - avoid reheating the cornstarch thickened sauce.
8. Once the chicken is fully cooked and tender, it is time to thicken the sauce. Remove the chicken one last time. Remove the herbs and cloves of garlic (if desired) and discard. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium low heat. Whisk in the beurre manie a small spoonful at a time. Continue whisking and simmering until the sauce has thickened, about 3 - 5 minutes.
9. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add in the mushrooms and bacon and stir until warmed. If you'd like, you can return the chicken to the pot to serve family style (or reheat for later). Otherwise you can plate the chicken and white wine sauce over mashed potatoes or another starch. Finish with a sprinkle of chopped parsley, if desired.
Reheating This Recipe
The beauty of coq au vin blanc is that it is perfect for reheating. In fact, it's even better the next day! It really makes this dish the perfect meal for entertaining. It's elegant, flavorful, and won't keep you away from socializing with your guests.
I recommend storing this dish directly in the Dutch oven (or other oven safe cooking vessel). To reheat, bake this dish in a 300° oven for 25 - 35 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling gently and the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit. Alternatively, you can reheat this dish on a very low simmer on the stovetop, until heated through.
If needed, you can gently thin the sauce by whisking in an additional splash of chicken stock or water.
I love serving coq au vin blanc with a starchy comfort food like mashed potatoes, rice pilaf or creamy polenta. You need a good wine sauce soaker-upper! Oh, and don't forget a nice crusty French bread.
For a vegetable, this dish is great with a green salad, our lemony French Green Beans, sautéed spinach or roasted Brussel's sprouts.
For a beverage pairing, you use the same nice dry white wine you made the sauce with. It's easy and sure to enhance the flavors of the dish. Something like a Chablis, a crisp Sancerre or a white Rhone blend would be lovely.
Coq au Vin Blanc (French Stewed Chicken in White Wine)
- dutch oven ((or other stovetop and oven safe cooking dish))
- Kitchen Twine (optional but recommended )
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms cleaned and sliced
- ½ Tablespoon olive oil
- 3 strips thick cut bacon cut into strips (lardons)
- 8 pieces skin-on bone-in chicken (we used thighs and legs) patted dry at room temperature
- 4 ounces pearl onions fresh peeled or frozen OR large diced shallot
- 1 Cup chicken stock
- 1 Cup dry white wine preferably unoaked
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme tied with bay leaf in twine
- 1 bay leaf tied with thyme in twine
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 1 Tablespoon fine kosher salt* plus more, to taste
- 1 teaspoon Freshly-ground black pepper plus more, to taste
- 2 Tablespoons butter softened
- 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (See Note: a.)
- 1 handful fresh chopped parsley as desired, for garnishing
- Arrange a rack in the center third of the oven and preheat to 325° Fahrenheit (107° celsius).
- In a large Dutch oven, sauté the mushrooms (in a dry pan) over medium-high heat, seasoning with salt and pepper and stirring frequently. When the mushrooms have cooked down to about half their size, add the olive oil and allow the mushrooms to cook, undisturbed, for 2 - 3 minutes until golden. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
- Add the bacon to the pan, lowering the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan, leaving behind all of the bacon grease. Set bacon aside on a paper towel lined dish.
- Increase heat again to medium-high. Season the dried chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken in batches, skin side down in the bacon grease for 3 - 5 minutes or until the skin is golden and crispy. With the last batch of chicken, add in the pearl onions and allow those to brown, as well. Set the seared chicken aside, leaving the onions in the Dutch oven.
- Lower to medium heat. Add the garlic. Whisk in the white wine and chicken stock while scraping any fond (browned bits) from the bottom of the pan. Add the thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the chicken into the simmering sauce, skin side up. Transfer the Dutch oven to the oven and allow to braise for 40 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked and tender. For dark meat chicken, I recommend braising to an internal temperature of 190° - 200° degrees Fahrenheit.
- In the meantime, prepare the beurre manie (See Note: a) by mashing the softened butter and flour together until a smooth paste is formed.
- After braising, return the Dutch oven to the stovetop. Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and set aside. Turn the stove on medium-low - medium to maintain a gentle simmer. Whisk in the beurre manie, a spoonful at a time. Simmer, while constantly whisking, for about 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- Return the mushrooms and bacon to the sauce and heat until warmed. Return the chicken to the sauce to serve family style or plate chicken and gravy with mashed potatoes or another starch. Garnish with chopped parsley, as desired.
* A Note About Salt
Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on The Sage Apron are developed using Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. It is a great all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If using table salt, reduce quantities by about half.