Coq Au Vin in the slow cooker gives you comfort food without having to heat up your kitchen. A French chicken stew with layers of flavor that would make Julia Child proud and is sure to be a family favorite.
The slow cooker and I are becoming better friends lately especially after using it for coq au vin. To me this is comfort food at it’s best. Deep rich layers of flavor from mushrooms, bacon, and wine cooked slowly for chicken that falls off the bone. A traditional French classic with just a few updates
I’ve found I have better success with a slow cooker when I use it as a tool and don’t dump everything in and go. Although I do love it for ribs and pulled chicken, where all you do is add a rub to the meat and let the slow cooker work its’ magic.
Everyone loves Coq au vin and part of why it’s so delicious is that you utilize the juice from the chicken and bacon to brown the mushrooms and make the sauce. Once everything has been browned, then you let it cook slowly so all the flavors seep into the chicken. Not only is the chicken tender, but the red wine, mushrooms, bacon and onions combine for the most marvelous dish.
What you’ll need for coq au vin
- Chicken thighs with skin – you need the skin for fat to cook the mushrooms in and for flavor.
- Mushrooms – cremini will add more depth to the flavor but any type will work.
- Pearl onions – this recipe calls for frozen pearl onions.
- Bacon – you can use pancetta or bacon. You will cook it first and use the grease to cook the mushrooms. The bacon will be added at the end before serving.
- Red wine – use a wine you like to drink, I prefer a Zinfindel.
- Pantry staples – tomato paste, flour, thyme, garlic and parsley.
You still have to go through all the steps you would if you were cooking the regular version on the stove. Making this in the slow cooker just allows you to leave the house while it simmers away. This recipe is very similar to Julia Childs with just a few updates, I used tomato paste instead of a tomato and frozen pearl onions. I also left out the cognac. I’m sure it would be good but I don’t think it needs it.
How do you make this slow cooker coq au vin recipe
Step 1: Brown the chicken until golden brown and place skin side up in the slow cooker. Add onions to the slow cooker.
Step 2: Cook the bacon or pancetta and remove to a plate.
Step 3: Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until browned.
Step 4: Add flour, tomato paste, garlic and thyme to the skillet with the mushrooms and then add the wine. Let it simmer for a minute and then pour it over the chicken and pearl onions.
Step 5: Cover and cook 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low until chicken is tender.
Step 6: Remove chicken to a plate. Spoon sauce over the top and sprinkle with parsley and bacon.
Normally this simmers in the oven for hours, but the slow cooker works perfect for this, maybe even better than the oven. I think Julia Child would approve of this version. I did use frozen pearl onions, because who has time to peel all those little onions and I think the frozen ones are a pretty good substitute.
You’re going to love the rich flavor in this sauce and doing all the work ahead of time makes this a great dish to serve for friends or a family gathering.
FAQs and tips
The sauce is so delicious that you want a starch of some type to soak it up. Mashed potatoes are ideal but potatoes in any form along with rice or pasta are also great choices.
A full bodied red wine that you like to drink, it will add a lot of flavor to the dish so you should like it. My favorite is a Zinfindel.
More chicken favorites
- Lemony chicken and shallots
- Filipino chicken adobo
- Queso chicken
- Crispy chicken tenders
- Chicken piccata
- Chicken marsala meatballs
- Parmesan chicken meatballs
- Chicken with tomatoes
- Tequila chicken
- Lemon mustard chicken
- Chicken with creamy Pesto
Adapted from Cooks’ Country April/May 2017
Coq au Vin
- 8 chicken thighs with bone and skin
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup frozen pearl onions
- 4 thick slices bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
- 10 ounces mushrooms quartered
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 ¾ cups red wine
- fresh parsley
- Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and add chicken, skin side down. Cook until well browned, 7-10 minutes and transfer skin side up to the slow cooker. Add onions to the slow cooker.
- Add bacon to the skillet and cook until crispy. Using a slotted spoon remove to a paper towel lined plate. Pour out all but ¼ cup of the bacon and chicken fat and add mushrooms to the skillet. Cook until browned about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in flour, tomato paste, garlic and thyme and cook for about a minute. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Pour sauce over chicken in slow cooker. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4-6 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. When ready to serve, remove chicken to a serving plate and spoon over sauce. Top with bacon and parsley.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Use a red wine that you enjoy drinking.
- You can use pancetta instead of bacon.
- Substitute ½ teaspoon dried thyme for fresh.
- Make sure you brown the chicken well before adding to the slow cooker.