One Pan French Chicken in Red Wine Sauce

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coq au vin recipe

What’s Up, Hungry People

Sacre bleu! I’ve recently realized that French cooking holds a treasure trove of inspiration that I’ve been missing out on. Just a few weeks ago, I embarked on a culinary challenge inspired by Escoffier—arguably one of the most innovative and influential chefs in history. His groundbreaking techniques and recipes have laid the foundation for modern cuisine as we know it. Trust me, delving into his methods has been nothing short of a revelation.

For this adventure, I decided to dive headfirst into the world of authentic French cooking by following guidelines from the prestigious Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. The goal was to craft a dish that would not only honor Escoffier’s legacy but also satisfy the modern palate. My boyfriend, who doubles as my most ardent supporter and harshest critic, declared this meal one of his favorites. Coming from him, that’s a high compliment, underscoring Escoffier’s unmatched culinary prowess.

french chicken recipe

Here’s What You Need

  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts: Provides rich flavor and moisture during cooking.
  • Dry red wine: Adds depth, acidity, and complexity to the sauce.
  • Chicken broth: Forms the base of the sauce, adding flavor and liquid for simmering.
  • Thick-cut bacon: Offers a smoky flavor and fat for sautéing other ingredients.
  • Pearl onions: Contribute sweetness and texture to the dish.
  • Button mushrooms: Add earthiness and absorb flavors from the sauce.
  • Onion: Foundation for the sauce, adding sweetness and depth.
  • Garlic or black garlic: Provides a strong, aromatic flavor; black garlic adds sweetness and umami.
  • Butter: Used for searing chicken and enriching the sauce.
  • Flour: Thickens the sauce, creating a smooth consistency.
  • Tomato paste: Concentrates the sauce’s flavor and adds color.
  • Bay leaves: Infuse the dish with a subtle, herbal aroma.
  • Thyme: Adds a light, aromatic herbal note.
  • Fresh parsley: Brightens the dish and adds color as a garnish.
  • Crusty bread: Perfect for soaking up the delicious sauce.

Let’s Cook

In my culinary escapades, pearl onions were often swapped out for their more common counterparts simply because I couldn’t stand the tedious task of peeling them. Little did I know, there’s a ridiculously simple trick that could have saved me so much hassle in the past.

boiling pearl onions

The secret? Boil the pearl onions just until the water reboils after adding them, then shock them in an ice bath. After that, the skins practically slip off with ease. If only I’d discovered this sooner, countless dishes could have been elevated with the subtle, sweet complexity of pearl onions.

peeling pearl onions

French cuisine often begins with the rich, irresistible flavor of bacon. Crisping it up releases a depth of flavor that forms the perfect base for any dish.

frying bacon

Following this essential step, I seared the chicken breasts to perfection, adding a generous knob of butter for that golden, crispy skin we all crave. Remember, the goal here isn’t to cook the chicken through but to prepare it for its final journey in the oven.

searing chicken thighs

My take on Escoffier’s coq au vin introduces a twist with the use of black garlic. Unlike the traditional recipe that utilizes fresh garlic, black garlic infuses the dish with a unique, deeply savory note that elevates the entire experience.

peeling black garlic

After dealing with the onions, both pearl and regular, the next step involves crafting a roux directly in the pan. This is crucial for achieving that luxuriously thick sauce that French cuisine is famous for.

sauting onions

Once the pearl onions have been peeled, add them to the drippings in the pan. I tossed in a handful of regular onion, mostly because I was trying to use up a quarter of one leftover in my fridge.

making roux

The next step is to essentially create a roux with the oils in the pan and the moisture from the vegetables.

thickening roux

This step is essential to getting a nice, thick sauce at the end.

onion roux

The actual sauce is formed by combining chicken broth with red wine, bay leaves and a touch of tomato paste to help the whole thing thicken up. From there, it’s just a matter of reducing the sauce into a bubbling brown concoction that smells like heaven.

adding tomato paste

The sauce will be a caramelish in color and you’ll know it’s ready for the chicken when it develops a nice “sheen” to it. It does take about 15-20 minutes to reduce the sauce to thick point, but baby, it’s so worth the wait.

thickening sauce

Finally, the dish comes together in the oven, where the chicken finishes cooking to juicy perfection, reaching an internal temperature of 165°F.

onions in sauce

Serving this masterpiece with crunchy French bread and escargot truly captures the essence of French dining. It’s an invitation to savor each bite and ensure not a single drop of that heavenly sauce goes to waste.

Coq Au Vin: Tips & Tricks

  • Choosing the right wine: Opt for a wine you’d enjoy drinking. The quality of the wine can significantly affect the dish’s flavor profile. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.
  • Properly browning the chicken: Don’t rush the searing process. Getting a good, crispy skin on the chicken not only adds texture but also layers of flavor to the dish. Make sure the pan is hot and the skin side is placed down first.
  • Making a smooth sauce: When adding flour to the vegetables, cook the mixture for a minute to remove the raw flour taste before adding liquids. This ensures a smooth, rich sauce without lumps.
  • Sauce consistency: If your sauce isn’t thickening as expected, let it simmer a bit longer. However, avoid over-reducing, as this can concentrate flavors too much and make the sauce too salty.
  • Serving suggestions: Coq au vin pairs beautifully with light, buttery mashed potatoes or a simple green salad in addition to the crusty bread. These sides can balance the rich flavors of the dish.
  • Leftovers and storage: This dish tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat gently to avoid drying out the chicken.
french onion chicken recipe

So there you have it, Hungry People, my take on a classic coq au vin that might just make Escoffier nod in approval from his culinary cloud. Remember, the trick with those pesky pearl onions and getting that sauce just right can make all the difference between a good dish and a great one. And while we may not all have a French culinary school diploma hanging in our kitchens, it doesn’t mean we can’t whip up a meal that feels like a warm hug from across the Atlantic. Don’t let the fancy name fool you; this is comfort food at its finest, ready to impress at your next dinner party or just spice up a Tuesday night at home. Grab that bottle of red you’ve been saving, or, let’s be real, the one you found on sale last week, and let’s make some magic happen in the kitchen. Enjoy!

coq au vin recipe

One Pan French Chicken in Red Wine Sauce

The Starving Chef
Elevate your dinner with this easy-to-follow coq au vin recipe, featuring a savory blend of black garlic, red wine, and herbs.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 2


  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 strips thick cut bacon
  • 2 cups pearl onions peeled
  • ½ cup button mushrooms chopped
  • ¼ cup onion sliced thin
  • 5 cloves garlic or black garlic
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley + more for topping
  • crusty bread for serving


  • To peel the pearl onions, bring a pot of water to a boil, trim off the roots, then add into the boiling water. Leave the onions in the water for 2-3 minutes, just until the water starts to boil again. Transfer the pearl onions to an ice bath then gently squeeze to pop the onion out of the skin.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place a large, oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add the bacon and sear on both sides until crispy, about 5-6 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan onto a plate lined with a paper towel. Keep the grease in the skillet.
  • Add two tablespoons of butter to the bacon grease. Place the chicken breasts, skin side down, in the hot grease and sear for 3-4 minutes, until the skin is crisping up. Flip over and sear the other side for 2-3 minutes (the chicken will NOT be cooked through) and place on a separate plate. Keep the drippings in the skillet.
  • Cook the pearl onions in the pan drippings until they are tender and beginning to brown. Toss in the chopped mushrooms and sliced onion and cook until they have released their moisture and are a consistent brown color throughout. Add the minced black garlic.
  • Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables. Stir so that all the veggies are covered. Season with salt and pepper, then pour in the chicken broth. Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Pour in the red wine and stir in the tomato paste, bay leaves, and thyme. Return to a rolling boil for about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for another 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is reduced by half.
  • Return the seared chicken to the skillet and spoon a bit of sauce on top of each. Place the oven-proof skillet in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken's internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Remove the skillet from the oven. Ladle the sauce onto shallow dishes and place the chicken on top. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh parsley, as desired. Serve alongside crusty French bread and enjoy!
Keyword chicken, mother sauces, sauce, wine
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