Coq au vin

Coq au vin in a casserole dish

Coq au vin is a French dish of chicken braised with red wine, lardons, mushrooms, and garlic.

Legend has it that Julius Caesar’s cook created the first coq au vin recipe after the Gauls gave Caesar a tough old cockerel as tribute for his conquering them. Caesar’s cook made the bird into a delicious meal to serve back to the Gauls. It’s an interesting story but it’s more likely that the dish evolved previously without any input from Caesar.

The term coq au vin is French for “cockerel with wine” and was probably a common peasant dish in previous centuries. Rural families in France commonly kept chickens and a cockerel. The cockerel would be kept until it was too old to perform its duties, and would then be eaten. Old birds, however, were tough and stringy, so the common preparation was to slow-simmer it in wine in order to tenderise the meat and make it more palatable.

These days it’s usually made with chicken rather than an old cockerel, but if you’re friendly with your local butcher and want to try an authentic recipe you could ask if s/he could order an old bird for you.


Raymond Blanc’s coq au vin Anthony Bourdain’s coq au vin

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