Slow Cooker Coq au Vin a la Julia Child

Coq au Vin

As an ex-pat and a home cook in France, Julia underwent something of a transformation and re-invented herself, on a personal journey to “make things happen”. Her evolution as a culinary ambassador to French cooking in America during the 1960’s left a legacy – accessible French cuisine for the home cook.

I’m on an ex-pat adventure myself, one which includes considerable mulling over maps of my adopted country and planning roadtrips. While on vacation in Washington DC this summer, I had the unexpected pleasure of watching a reconstruction of Julia Child’s kitchen for an exhibition at the Smithsonian, marking her 100th Birthday year. (Yes I was the one with my head pressed up against the protective boarding trying to peer through the gap)

Meanwhile, Meg was hiking the Inca Trail, winding her way up the well worn path on a family adventure and working towards a personally significant milestone: taking her oldest son to college.

As this year heads into its penultimate season and we move into shorter days with cooler weather, we’re craving the rich, filling and flavorsome goodness of Coq au Vin we’ve adapted for our slow cookers. The tweaks we made are minimal: the liquid content has been reduced because there is so little evaporation in the slow cooker.

In the words of Julia Child “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”

Recipe adapted from Julia Child’s Coq au Vin: Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Prep Time  20 minutes                           Print Recipe
Cooking Time  7-8 hrs low / 3 1/2 – 4 hrs high      
Servings 6

Ingredients    
2 ½ to 3 lbs skinless chicken thighs & legs
1/3 cup flour
salt & pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
4 slices lean bacon, cut into 1” strips
12 baby onions, (24 pearl) peeled and left whole
½ lb button mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup cognac
1 3/4  cup red wine
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large sprig thyme (or a generous 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
fresh parsley, chopped

Place the chicken, flour, salt and pepper in a gallon size ziploc bag and shake well Browned chickenensuring the chicken is liberally coated with the mixture.In a skillet heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil on medium high and add the chicken pieces.Brown the chicken for 2 minutes on either side until it turns a lightly golden color. Stir the remainder of the flour from the bag into the browned chicken and transfer to your slow cooker.Bacon, Onion & MushroomsIn the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and saute the bacon, onions and mushrooms for 4 minutes, stirring regularly, until glazed and shiny.

Drain any excess fat from the skillet and transfer the mixture into your slow cooker.

Stir the cognac, wine, tomato paste, garlic, thyme, oregano and bay leaf into the chicken mixture.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3 1/2 – 4 hours.

Make it a meal
Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Lighten it up
Substitute the coqnac for wine or chicken broth.

 Zen Toolkit.

.“Mise en place” a french culinary term which means organizing the process of cooking by making it more efficient, helping prevent mistakes or forgetting vital ingredients.  Line up your spice jars and set out dry ingredients the night before or skip this step and purchase our Coq au Vin “Zen Blend” filled with organic herbs and spices – everything you need to simplify your slow cooking experience.

Coq au Vin - Zen Blend to purchase online

Coq au Vin – Zen Blend to purchase online

Zen Moment

The secret to getting ahead is getting started.  The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.

-Mark Twain

75 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Coq au Vin a la Julia Child

  1. As official test taster, I can officially confirm it’s awesome. Great dinner party dish and great family dinner: our 3 and 5 year olds devoured it. Delish dish.

  2. Made the coq au vin this weekend for a casual dinner party. The finished dish was very delicious! Spouse declared, “YUM!” This recipe is a definite keeper.

  3. Meg, this was delightful! I served it with mashed potatoes and a side of brussel sprouts and we all loved it. Can’t wait to eat the leftovers tonight! I do have a question I would love for you to answer at some point. I am often gone for 9 hours or so and want to come home to dinner. Most recipes say to cook 7-8 hours. can you let it cook longer? or do you put your crock pot on a timer if you’re gone that long? thanks!

    • Wonderful! I set my slow cooker to the desired cooking time and then it automatically goes to a warm setting. I hope that answers your question. We’re making a delicious tomato sauce tomorrow – perfect for those long days away from home.

      • My cooker doesnt have a timer; high,low, and warm settings. I am away from home approx. 10 hours. Can I leave my food cooking on low for this long? If it turned from low to the warm setting at the 7-8 hours time frame is that ok?

        • That’s a good question. I have a friend who has a slow cooker without a timer and attached it to a timer for her lights. I would want to make sure that it definitely goes off or to warm after the recommended cooking time. I’ve let my food stay on warm for up to 3 hours. Generally, the food tastes fine (soups, chili, etc.) but if you’re cooking a meat such as chicken it can taste a little overcooked.

          Hope that answers your question!

          Meg

  4. Making it tonight!!! Substituted cherry tomatoes from my garden in place of the tomato paste….smells delicious. Also cooked the bacon until crispy…..yum!!!

  5. My VERY picky-eater husband LOVED this. Keep doing what you’re doing and I will be able to cook dishes that he will eat!!

  6. Pingback: Slow Cooker Coq Au Vin Two Ways | lawstudentscookbook

  7. I made this the other day and it was delicious! I ended up using a chianti for the red wine and boiled the pearl onions for two minutes to assist in removing the skins more efficiently, which was definitely a sanity-saver. I served it with a fresh, crusty, bread instead of making a side dish, and it was a a complete hit with friends. Plenty left over for lunch the next day. Yum!

  8. I’ve made the Julia Child method and am looking forward to trying it in my slow cooker. Will this recipe freeze well?

  9. Just finished our very tasty dinner Jane – THANK YOU! Charlie is raving about it and am feeling like very devoted capable wife – an unusual feeling on a Friday night! Planning on the Strog tomorrow.xxx

    • I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. It’s definitely a calming aid in the kitchen when you have little ones snapping at your heals all day. Let us know about the Stroganoff. x

      • Strog was nice but think he used the wrong cut as it was a bit tough. Coq au vin was so good am making it for a birthday lunch I am doing for Monty’s 1st birthday – such a lifesaver to have it all done when everyone arrives tomorrow. Again thank you for the inspiration lovely lady. Josie xx

  10. Sounds delicious, but my husband always hates it when he finds a. One in his food. Won’t the bones be too small to fish out?

    • Hi-

      It looks like you’re referring to our Coq au Vin recipe – I would suggest using boneless chicken thighs. Hope that answers your question. Let us know how like it!

  11. I’m a working mother and dinner planning is always a challenge — as is “cooking” after getting home after work. Love the idea of using my slow cooker more! Have all the ingredients down for Coq au Vin and can’t wait to try it.

    Question: I’m assuming that after browning the chicken, I could freeze it — right? Reason I ask is that I’d like to do some of the heavy prep work on a Sunday, freeze it, thaw it overnight and throw it into the slow cooker on a work morning.

    Let me know!

    • Hi Ann, that’s a great question and on researching I’ve found that this wouldn’t be a safe method. This is what the USDA Food Safety and Inspection service says via their website http://www.fsis.usda.gov/FACTSheets/Chicken_from_Farm_To_Table/index.asp#18

      – Never brown or partially cook chicken to refrigerate and finish cooking later because any bacteria present wouldn’t have been destroyed. It is safe to partially precook or microwave chicken immediately before transferring it to the hot grill to finish cooking.

      I recommend that you cook the entire dish on Sunday, you’ll be free to leave it unattended, it will then be safe to freeze, defrost and reheat on the day you want to eat it.

  12. Made the coq au vin for Valentines Day. It was delicious! We served it with rice and a celery salad. Delicious! We will definitely be making it again!

  13. Made a double batch for a group of 11 – so delicious and everyone loved it! It was nice to spend time with friends instead of stuck in the kitchen. Great as leftovers too.

  14. I looked and looked for a special “Print recipe only” but none could be found. I tried cutting off my printer but unfortunately nothing I did helped and it went through reams of peper with useless comments—-11 pages and then some as it continued to print. Heaven help us against all the useless editorializing and information when a small helpful comment would do.

    • Thank you for your feedback about the printing option on our site. We’re currently working on implementing a print recipe only function. We apologise for the inconvenience and I have forwarded the recipe via email should you ever need to re-print in the future. Let us know how it turns out!

  15. Hi – A friend recommended your site and I’m inspired to try slow cooking for the first time ever! The coq au vin looks fantastic but I always cook with boneless chicken breasts. Would that change the cooking time?
    Thanks!

    • That’s a good question and welcome to our site. Choosing breast meat instead of dark meat will give a different result, and could be more likely to dry out. I suggest you choose larger breasts, and reduce the cooking time to 4-5 hours Low or 2.5 hours on High. Have fun with the recipes and please let us know how it turns out.

  16. Hi,
    I am new to your site, but found you from a search for crock pot Coq au Vin. Your recipe looks fabulous and I’m looking forward to it. Question, I have a 4 qt cooker and I see you use 6. Do you have a recommendation to adapt the ingredients for 4? Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated!

    • Welcome to our site, we’re so pleased you found us. If you still want to make the same quantity (this recipe serves 6) then it will work in your 4 qt slow cooker. If you want to modify the size of the recipe you can reduce it accordingly. Halve the ingredients for 3 people or thirds for 2 people. We hope that helps, and enjoy the dish!

      • As it happens I was just able to make this for the first time today. It’s a wonderful recipe and I’m already looking forward to leftovers for dinner tomorrow!

  17. Good Work !!
    Looking forward to cooking this right NOW !
    I like the ” Zen Toolkit “and “Zen Moment” ………. both clear, informative and Inspiring.
    As I too ended up printing off all 12 pages I decided to read all of the comments !
    So thanks to you shannon I too will also try the cherry tomatoes in place of the tomato paste !

    • Hi and thank you for the question. Choosing breast meat instead of dark meat will give a different result, and has the potential to dry out. Dark meat has more fat, connective tissue and bone which helps retain the moisture. Larger pieces of chicken breast may retain their own moisture for longer.
      If you choose to use chicken breast, i suggest you reduce the cooking time to 5 hours on low, however this may alter the consistency of the sauce at the end.
      We hope that helps!
      Jane and Meg

  18. For those of you who asked about boneless, skinless chicken breasts and boneless skinless chicken thighs…..wish me luck! I was in a hurry and picked up “boneless ” chicken thighs! Grrr! Knowing that the bones would give that deep flavor. My husband is a white meat eater, so I thought I would try a mix. I bought huge chicken breasts (3) and a family pack of chicken thighs. I doubled and followed the recipe. I am going to set the crockpot on low for 8 hours and check it at 7 hours. I hope this works! I’ll let you know!

    • We can’t wait to hear how you like it! I usually make it with boneless chicken thighs – so hopefully it works for your family. Meg

  19. It is fabulous! I had to shut it off at 7 hours, had to help a friend come back from the hospital. Divided it up into pyrex freezer dishes, making sure the chicken breasts were in one. I wasn’t sure how they would turn out. Put them in the freezer and forgot about them until this weekend. Pulled out the one with just the breasts, added just a tad of chicken broth and nuked it. YUMMY! My white meat eater loved it! This WILL be made again!

  20. I am so thrilled to find this website!!!! My husband has been craving Coq Au Vin for weeks and I decided to surprise him with this when he gets home from travelling on Thursday. The house is going to smell like heaven and he is going to be so excited!

    • Thank you for the nice note. Let us know how you like the recipe – we hope your husband likes it. We’ll add you to our mailing list tonight.

  21. Thank you so much for this recipe. It was absolutely fabulous!! It’s a little scary making something for the first time and serving it to guests. This was a big hit, now they all think I’m a gourmet cook :-) It was so easy, and the meat just fell off the bones so no need for fingers…… I served it over extra wide egg noodles. Which I boiled in chicken broth and butter, no need to season the noodles, just sprinkle with parsley. Along with a spinach/arugula salad, with sliced fresh strawberries, sliced almonds, feta cheese, and a strawberry balsamic dressing (this is a Rachel Ray recipe)

  22. The product of this recipe was very well received by a Frenchwoman and a professor of French who has spent a great deal of time in France. The latter said “This may well be the best coq au vin I have ever tasted.” Not bad.

  23. I am part of a freezer meal group and would love to make this dish, but have a question. I need to make 5 meals that serve 4 adults each . Could I prepare the recipie as listed and then put into freezer bags instead of putting it into the crock pot? Or would I be better off making this 5 times in my slow cooker and then freezing it? Thank you so much for any feedback!

    • HI Laura, this recipe freezes very well so I suggest making it first, then freezing. That way you will be following the recipe steps in sequence. Hope this helps and we love the idea of a freezer meal group. If you have any other recipes you want to share with us for the slow cooker please do!

  24. I was very excited to make this in my slow cooker after reading all the great reviews. I followed the directions to a T. The chicken was incredibly tender, but the dish was way too boozy tasting (and I love wine). I’m just wondering if the temperature didn’t get high enough to cook off the alcohol. I was worried my kids were going to get drunk from it.

    • Hi that’s a very good question about the alcohol. The U S Department of Agriculture has published an “alcohol burn off chart” which indicates that you will always retain a certain amount of alcohol but the percentage varies depending on the cooking method. Also, different slow cookers will have varying maximum heat. I would suggest cooking it on high or saving it for the adults.

  25. Jane, this was delicious!! I made a couple of changes though (because I am the queen of easy cooking :-) ) and used frozen pearl onions, and the diced garlic found in jars in the produce section of the grocery, instead of fresh so I wouldn’t have to peel everything and it worked well. I served it on mashed potatoes (made from the Ore-Ida frozen steam-n-mash russets) and my husband was a happy man!

      • My husband now asks for this almost weekly! He loves it! There has been some more tweaking of the recipe tho’: he loves it when I add a can of Golden Cream of Mushroom soup, and a couple ounces of Cream Sherry in place of two of the ounces of red wine. It gives it a little more oomph :-)
        I’ve also discovered that a bag of the frozen mixed mushrooms works in place of the fresh, and Heinz Ketchup can be substituted for the tomato paste.

  26. This is a great recipe!. I tested it this afternoon before making it for company and I will add the recipe to my crockpot collection to be used again and again, it was that good. Because I’m not a huge pearl onion fan I did swap about 1/2 cup nicely sliced onions for the pearls and it was absolutely delicious. It’s a winner!

  27. BEWARE if you *know* that your slow cooker does not get hot enough. If you’re not sure, cook this dish on HIGH anyway (as the authors suggest.) Boiling point of alcohol is much higher than water. I tested this when I woke up this morning and I’m pretty well hammered now.

    • Kim

      Thank you for letting us know your experience. As suggested, if you have any reservations about the alcohol we suggest you cook the recipe on high. Alternatively, add the wine to the skillet and bring to the boil for 2 minutes before adding to your slow cooker.

      Jane and Meg

      • I meant to come back and let you know that I let the dish cook an additional 2 hours on high. It tasted good and now that I know about alcohol and cooking (didn’t know much before this) I know what to do the next time I make it!

    • Actually, the boiling point of alcohol is considerably less than that of water meaning you can boil the alcohol off without the water ever coming to a boil. (~78′C vs 100′C; This characteristic is the one that allows for distilled liquor!)

  28. I’m excited to try this tomorrow. I will switch out the bacon for turkey bacon and double the recipe for a big Shabbat dinner. Can’t wait to try it!

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