It seemed to take forever for winter to arrive but now it has, with a vengeance!  It’s time to get out the slow cookers and casserole dishes, shop for the cheaper cuts of meat, and embrace the warmth and aromas of winter cooking.  Coq au vin is a simple, country-style French dish that will warm the cockles of even the coldest heart.

Coq au Vin

Serves 4

Prep time: 30 minutes  Cooking time: 2 hours 10 minutes



  • ¼ cup plain flour

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1.2 kilos chicken pieces – leg, thigh, wings, jointed

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 150g speck, cut into batons

  • 20 pearl onions

  • 8 button mushrooms, sliced

  • 8 Girolle mushrooms, sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 30ml Armagnac

  • 375ml red wine

  • 1 bay leaf



Preheat the oven to 140ºC.

Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. Coat the chicken pieces thoroughly in the flour. Place the olive oil in a fry pan over medium-high heat, and when it is hot, brown the chicken on all sides. Transfer the chicken to a casserole dish.

Place the speck in the hot pan and cook for about a minute, until it starts to turn golden.  Add the onions, mushrooms, garlic and thyme leaves and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until softened and fragrant.  Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for a further minute. Pour the Armagnac into the pan, followed by the red wine.  Bring to the boil, then pour the mixture over the chicken in the casserole dish. Add the bay leaf. Cover with a lid and cook for 1 ½ hours in the oven. Remove the lid and cook for a further half an hour.

If the sauce is too thin, at this stage you may remove the chicken pieces and turn the oven up to 180ºC. Cook the sauce, uncovered for another 10-15 minutes before returning the chicken to the casserole dish to serve. Serve with crusty bread, kipfler potatoes, peas and green beans.