If you are looking for a super special dinner party entree then I would say this clean remake of Julia Child’s Coq au Vin Recipe should definitely be in the running. I made the dish for the first time for my dads 90th birthday and it was such a hit that I made it again the very next weekend for a small dinner party I hosted for a few close friends (that’s the dinner party photo to the left; I started the meal off with my Caesar Salad topped with roasted red peppers and anchovies, which is what is shown in the photo.)
The incredibly flavorful Coq au Vin, also known as “Rooster in Red Wine”, is a French recipe made famous by Child and was featured in her 1961 cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Child later demonstrated the dish in her spinoff television show, The French Chef, bringing this hearty traditional chicken entree into the homes of Americans who might otherwise have never been exposed to French cuisine.
I had heard of Coq au Vin for years but never actually tried it until an authentic French bistro, The Parisian Restaurant, opened in our area recently. To be honest, I was afraid to order the recipe off the menu because I was sure it was loaded with butter, but one of the couples we were dining out with ordered it and I couldn’t resist having a bite. All I can say is Oh. My. Gosh. No wonder Julia Child was so famous!!
I immediately left the restaurant to research how to make an authentic Coq au Vin recipe and sure enough it involved butter. And bacon. Boo =(
But the flavor of the dish we had at the Parisian Restaurant was so amazing that I just had to try a clean remake at home. Although I have not compared my cleaned up version below head to head against the one at the Parisian, I do have to say it is probably the dinner party dish that I have received the most ooh’s and aaahs from ever. Between my dad’s birthday party and the small dinner party I just hosted, I have had 15 official taste testers for this dish. It is a unanimous hit.
I will say though that it is a wee bit time consuming to make, but every bite is worth it. It is also a very rich and hearty dish, so you can get by making everything else you serve for the dinner very simple. In case you are wondering, for the dinner party I served the Caesar Salad as the starter, the Coq au Vin with green beans and sprouted brown rice as the entree and the Chocolate Mint Cake for dessert.
How to Make a Clean Coq au Vin Recipe
Ok then, how exactly did I go about cleaning the “Rooster in Red Wine” recipe up?
If you compare my Coq au Vin recipe to Julia’s version, you’ll see the first thing I did was use skinless chicken thighs. This is because removing the skin means your chicken thighs will have less animal-based saturated fat. If you are following an anti-inflammatory diet, then you may already know that animal-based saturated fat is pro-inflammatory. I also removed every bit of visible fat from the chicken too. Any visible fat on animal protein is always very high in saturated fat. Kitchen shears make snipping fat a snap, by the way.
Next, I used a lot more vegetables than the original dish called for. Adding more vegetables to your diet is one of the easiest ways to boost overall nutrition and also lower inflammation. Plus, in my opinion the extra vegetables add extra flavor. They also add more chopping time, but you can’t have it all lol.
I also did away with the bacon and instead used healthy oils from extra virgin olive oil and organic, unrefined red palm oil. If you are under the impression palm oil is not healthy, be sure to read about the incredible health benefits of red palm oil.
The one ingredient I decided I just could not omit entirely was a small bit of grass fed butter. I was taste-testing the recipe as I went along and I am certain that the addition of just a teeny bit of butter really makes a significant and very real difference. Julia Child used 2 tablespoons but I decided to just use 2 teaspoons of butter, which seemed to get the job done. And, when you consider that the recipe serves 8, this is less than 1/2 a teaspoon of butter per person, which is not very much at all. Be sure to see my notes at the bottom of the recipe for buying grass fed butter though.
Finally, if you are serving your Coq au Vin for guests, you might want to put it in mini casserole dishes and add a sprig of fresh thyme for a pretty presentation. I use the mini casserole dishes in the photo above frequently for recipes like Shepherd’s Pie, which don’t always look as lovely on a dinner plate as they really taste. And you know, since we eat with our eyes first, taking the time to transfer the recipe to a casserole dish is probably an important step 😉
P.S. Love Julia Child? Be sure to check out the recipe for a cleaner version of Julia’s Classic French Onion Soup!Print
- 1 1/2 pounds pastured (organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of all visible fat)
- Sprouted organic spelt flour OR biodynamic whole wheat flour
- Unrefined sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unrefined (organic red palm oil, divided)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5 carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 4 stalks celery (chopped)
- 1 Spanish (yellow onion, chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 3 cups full-bodied red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon)
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 2 teaspoon organic (grass-fed butter (see notes below))
- 1 cup organic chicken broth
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 1 pound assorted wild mushrooms (cut into bite-sized pieces)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Season chicken with flour, salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the red palm oil in a very large oven-proof skillet (or Dutch Oven) over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and sear for about 2 minutes per side, or until chicken is lightly golden brown but not cooked through. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in the “dirty” skillet over medium heat; add the carrots, celery and onion, and cook for 7 to 9 minutes, or until vegetables are soft.
- Add the crushed garlic, 1 cup of the wine and all of the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the butter and remaining 2 cups of wine; bring to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the wine is reduced by half.
- Add the chicken broth, thyme and rosemary sprigs to the skillet and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for 8 minutes.
- Add the chicken to the skillet and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook for 1 hour 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of red palm oil in a separate clean skillet over medium heat; add the mushrooms to the hot skillet and saute for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and remove the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Add the sauteed mushrooms to the skillet and simmer stove-top for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
If you cannot locate organic 100% grass fed butter from a local farm, Kerrygold grass-fed butter is the easiest nationally distributed brand to locate. There are a few things I do not like about Kerrygold, including that it is not organic and that 10% of a Kerrycold cows diet comes from supplemental feed. However, if you cannot locate local 100% grass fed butter then Kerrygold is the next best thing.
Did You Make the Coq au Vin Recipe?
If so, please be sure to let me know how it turned out! Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #CleanCuisine
Want More Healthy Dinner Recipes?
If you liked the Coq au Vin recipe be sure to check out a full month’s menu of delicious healthy dinner recipes (including weekly shopping lists!) in our Clean Cuisine Digital Cookbook.