Hamersley’s Bistro
553 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116


Coq Au Vin
Chef Gordon Hamersley of Hamersley’s Bistro – Boston, MA
Adapted by StarChefs.com
From Bistro Cooking at Home by Gordon Hamersley (Broadway Books)

Braising chicken makes it unbelievably tender. Instead of sautéing the mushrooms separately and adding them at the end of cooking, I add them at the beginning so that their juices get released right into the dish. Rice or potatoes would go well with this stewlike dish while some soft polenta makes a less traditional but delicious side.

Yield: 4 Servings


  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces (about 4 slices) bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4 -inch pieces
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 12 Pearl onions, peeled*
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 whole chicken legs, legs and thighs attached and skin on (about 2½ pounds), excess
  • skin and fat removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ cups hearty red wine
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 12 Cremini mushrooms (about 4 ounces), halved
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

    * To peel pearl onions easily, blanch them first by boiling them for about 2 minutes and then shocking them in ice water.

In a large high-sided ovenproof sauté pan, heat 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until most of the fat has rendered and the bacon is just lightly browned in places, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan, leaving the bacon fat in the pan. Reserve the bacon.

Add the carrot and onions to the sauté pan with the bacon fat and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions brown in spots, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Take the vegetables out of the pan and reserve them with the bacon.

Heat the oven to 325° F. Add enough vegetable oil to the bacon fat in the pan to coat the bottom by about ¼-inch and heat the pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces all over with a salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan, skin-side down in one layer, and brown each side, about 5 minutes for each side of each piece. (If the pieces don’t fit in one layer, brown them in batches.) Transfer the chicken pieces to a rimmed plate.

Return the bacon, onions, carrot, and garlic to the pan. Add the flour, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring well so that the flour doesn’t burn, for 3 minutes.
Put the chicken and any accumulated juices back into the pan. Add the red wine, chicken broth, bay leaf, thyme, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil on top of the stove. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil, put it in the oven, and cook for 40 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. (If the liquid is boiling, reduce the oven temperature to 300° F.) Check that the chicken is cooked through by cutting into a piece; it should be extremely tender.

To Assemble and Serve:
Transfer the chicken to a sided platter and cover to keep warm. Degrease the cooking liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil and cook until reduced slightly. Spoon some mushrooms, onions and sauce over the chicken legs, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

Wine Pairing:
A lighter red than the one the chicken was cooked in, such as a Mercurey or a Côte de Beaune from Burgundy.

   Published: January 2006