Valentines dinner ‘very easy Coq au Vin’


With ‘Saint Valentine’s day’ at the weekend, you might like to try this delicious – ‘straight to a man’s (or woman’s) heart’ recipe that cannot fail to impress.

As I said on my post for ‘Beouf Bourguignon’ I like to keep things as simple and stress free as possible, and unlike more traditional ‘coq au vin’ recipes, can be prepared last minute without sacrificing taste – Maximum taste for minimum effort is my motto.
Once prepared, this dish looks after itself, leaving you plenty of time to look after yourself, getting ready for an evening of romance.  (The added benefit is that it does not contain any garlic – so nothing to get in the way of getting romantic after dinner)

This is the perfect companion to my ‘chocolate pots’ that can be made in the morning and chilled in the fridge, again giving you time to concentrate on other things……..’ahl’amour’

Serves 2

The meat from 2 large free range chicken thighs (2 cuisses de poulets elevées en plein aire)

2 shallots very finely chopped

3oz/100g smoked bacon (lardons fumé)

7oz/200g button mushrooms (champignons  de Paris cut into 4)

8/10 baby (pickling) onions (tetes de petits oignons nouveaux)

25g chocolate 70%+ cocoa solid chocolate(I used ‘Lindt ‘A la pointe de Fleur de Sel’ slightly salted chocolate, as I like the salty tang) this really gives the sauce a lovely texture

¾ pt/ 350ml red wine – Burgundy (vin de Bourgogne) is great, not too heavy and not too fruity, for a more ‘rustic’ flavour try a Cotes de Rhone.

¾ pt/ 350 ml fond de veau*/chicken stock

1 dessertspoon (1 cuilier de soupe) of sherry vinegar (or cognac if you prefer)

1 tablespoon corn flour (2 cuillers de soupe de farine de mais)seasoned a little with salt and pepper

30gm salted butter

A good glug of olive oil

1 bay leaf (feuille de laurier)

salt and pepper to taste

A good pinch of brown sugar

* If you can find it, it is worth using the ‘fond de veau’,  (veal stock) as it is less salty, slightly sweeter/caramelized  and ‘meatier’ than chicken stock and also gives a lovely velvety texture to the sauce – and this dish is all about the sauce!

There is a photo of what you are looking for to buy at the end of this recipe


Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed casserole (preferably ‘le Creuset’ or similar, alternatively use a slow cooker) and brown (faire saisir) the chicken on all sides to seal in the juices, then remove from the pan and set aside. (this is best done in small batches, so that it seals quickly, if you put too much in the pan at once it will create steam and not brown)

Sauté the bacon/lardons for 3 minutes until beginning to brown, then add the shallots and cook for a further minute taking care not to burn.

Return the chicken to the pan and coat with the corn flour.

Add the wine vinegar, stirring well to form a paste with the flour.

Add the fond de veau(again stirring well to avoid lumps developing – if this does happen just continue stirring until they disappear)

Add the wine and finally the chocolate, stirring until the chocolate has melted and is incorporated into the sauce.

Add the bay leaf and reduce the heat to the lowest possible and gently simmer for at least 2 hours (the longer the better!) stirring from time to time.

15 minutes before serving sauté the onions with a pinch of brown sugar until they are caramelized then add to the casserole.

Immediately before serving, sauté the mushrooms and add to the casserole, and simmer for a further 5 minutes

Remove the bay leaf before serving.

I served this with steamed ‘waxy or nutty’ potatoes such as ‘Charlotte’ / pommes de terre rouge pour gratin ou raclette and steamed baby carrots.

But equally good with a warm crusty baguette to soak up the sauce – bon apetit!



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