Coq is the French word for a "rooster". Vin is French for "wine". So that means that Coq au Vin translates as Rooster in Wine.
Until the 20th century it was common for rural families to have some chickens (for eggs and meat) and a rooster. The rooster would be kept until it was too old to perform its duties, at which time it would be killed and eaten. However, by this time the meat would be hard and stringy, so cooking it slowly in wine would tend to soften the meat and make it more edible. As such, the recipe has historically been considered "peasant food" or "poor people's food" as the well-off would be able to afford a better cut of meat which would not require slow cooking in wine in order to be edible. These days the rooster is generally chicken or capon.
Five Fun Facts:
- In the French region of Bourgogne (which the English know as Burgundy), a red wine is typically used. This is perhaps the most well-known version of Coq au Vin.
- In Alsace, a Reisling white wine is traditionally used. This reflects the fact that Alsace is on the German border and has strong historical Germanic connections, which is reflected in both its food and wine. Morel mushrooms may be added.
- Different variations are coq au vin jaune, coq au Riesling, coq au pourpre, and coq au Champagne - all different variants based on the region's wines.
- Various legends trace coq au vin to ancient Gaul and Julius Caesar, but the recipe was not documented until the early 20th century; it is generally accepted that it existed as a rustic dish long before that.
- A somewhat similar recipe, poulet au vin blanc, appeared in an 1864 cookbook.
Five Chicken in Wine Recipes:
- Speedy Coq Au Vin - Jamie Says: To save her newly married son from starvation, my mother-in-law, Karen, showed up one day and tactfully suggested that she and I cook a few things together. It's a good thing she did, too. This was the first dish we tried. Her version was a huge hit, but took triple the time that this one did. Now that I've adapted her recipe with my shortcuts, I don't have to cringe every time my husband requests the dish. I'm grateful to her for this, and her many kindnesses over the years.
- Easy Coq au Vin- Tastes better when you prepare it the day before and reheat. I always double it.
- Baked Chicken Thighs and Legs in Wine- This recipe has been in my family for many years. I would watch my mother make this dish on Sunday. She would use all roots vegetables.
- Greek Chicken & Vegetable Ragout- A Greek-inspired crock pot recipe for chicken that includes vegetables in the pot. Start this tomorrow morning!
- Chicken Thighs with Green Olive, Cherry & Port Sauce - This sweet and salty sauce with dried cherries and port is wonderful over succulent chicken thighs. It’s also great with chicken breast. Substitute cranberry juice for the port if you prefer. Serve with farro tossed with chopped pistachios and fresh herbs and steamed green beans. A great new way to eat chicken. Try this sweet and salty dish on your table tonight!
Click for more Chicken Recipes.
Nutrition information for one serving of Coq Au Vin:
Fat: 5 g
Carbohydrates: 39 g
Cholesterol: 73 mg
Sodium: 357 mg
Protein: 31 g
Sugars: 0 g