French Chicken Stew: Coq au Vin in Instant Pot (Recipe)
Homemade French Coq Au Vin Chicken with Veggies and Sauce

French Chicken Stew: Coq au Vin in Instant Pot (Recipe)

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Legend has it that the Coq au Vin dates back to the time when Julius Caesar and the Romans had invaded France. An old rooster that is slow-cooked in a chicken stew with wine sauce to tenderize it and bring out the flavors.

But this time around, this age-old French Chicken Stew meets the 21st century Instant Pot. Most people don’t have the time (or the forethought) to start cooking the night before. If you do, Respect!

Shortcuts to the traditional recipe

In France, the traditional way a typical Coq au Vin is cooked is by marinating red wine, chicken, onions, carrots, and celery the night before. Then the following day, slow cook on the stove for 2.5 hours. These days with the Instant Pot, I find that taking a few shortcuts doesn’t take away any of the flavors of the chicken stew.

Frozen Veggies: For instance, for the vegetables in the recipe below, I’ve counted the time it takes to chop all the vegetables and add them in. But we do get chopped frozen vegetables, even in France, and there’s a reason they are so popular. Just toss them in and you’re good to go.

Frozen Chicken: You could also use frozen chicken, if you really are in a rush. But keep in mind that the skin will probably not taste as good and fall off. I’ve sacrificed the skin and cooked it several times with the chicken still frozen, and the dish still tastes fantastic.

If you do decide to leave the chicken frozen, you don’t need to add any additional time. The Instant Pot will take longer to heat up, so just leave the cooking time the same.

Lardons: Also, one thing to note is that the French recipe usually calls for lardons, which are small matchstick-size pieces of bacon. These don’t need to be sautéed (if you are using frozen chicken). But if you don’t have lardons and are using regular bacon, you should sauté those as per the recipe below.

☞ READ MORE: Classic French Recipes remade in the Instant Pot

Cooking without alcohol

I should point out that Coq au Vin translates literally to Chicken in Wine. Nevertheless, if you have small children, you may have doubts about a recipe that includes 1/3 cup of wine and 1/4 cup of cognac. If you cook it without the wine, it will still be a delicious chicken stew.

I’ve scoured French blogs and recipe websites to find alternatives and test them. The best combination that I’ve found is to replace the alcohol with:

  • Abricot, peach or pear juice instead of Cognac.
  • Chicken stock and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar instead of the wine.

But keep in mind that the general consensus is that because the cooking time is over 45 minutes at high pressure even in the Instant Pot, the alcohol has cooked off. It is very similar to the Boeuf Bourguignon, which is a slow-cooked stew with beef instead of chicken and also uses red wine.

☞ READ MORE: Easy Guide to the French Wines

Frequently Asked Questions

What sides to serve with it?

There are many different sides that you can serve with a Coq au Vin, but my favorite is long-grain brown rice. It is drier and less sweet than some other accompanying dishes, and so I find it goes really well.

The traditional French accompaniment is mashed potatoes, however, or tagliatelle pasta. And there are many other possibilities as well such as white rice, polenta, or even bulgur.

What drinks to serve with it?

In France, a meal like Coq au vin will only be served with wine. For a traditional dinner, French etiquette dictates that there are no apéritifs, cocktails, sodas or any of the like. Those are reserved for the apéro hour (happy hour).

So all this to say, a wine goes best with Coq au vin. But you have to be careful what type of wine you pick to not clash with the wine that you have already added into the Coq au vin. To keep the flavors consistent, pick a dry red wine from the same region as the wine you have added into the recipe.

A dry Côtes du Rhone, or a light Bourgogne or Alsacian should generally marry quite well.

Can you freeze it?

Yes, this is one of those recipes that tastes better the next day. You can easily put aside portions in a sealed container and put it in the freezer.

coq au vin

Coq au Vin Recipe for Instant Pot

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

A traditional French Coq au Vin for modern times.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of Chicken (approx. 8 pieces of thigh and leg)
  • 1 cup of lardons  (or 6 strips of bacon sliced into small pieces)
  • 1 cup of sliced white or oyster mushrooms  
  • 1/2 an onion chopped up
  • 1 carrot sliced 
  • 1/3 bottle of full-bodied red wine (Cabernet, Merlot or Malbec)
  • 1 garlic clove chopped up
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 4 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 chopped celery stick
  • 1/4 cup of cognac or brandy
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Add the chicken thighs, bacon, and butter in the Instant pot and sauté for about 8 minutes.
  2. Add the cognac over the chicken and bacon and let it sauté for another couple of minutes
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the flour), and set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 12 minutes.
  4. Once the countdown has finished, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes.
  5. Mix in the flour with a tablespoon of water to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the Instant Pot.
  6. Press the Sauté button again for 5 minutes to let the sauce thicken.
  7. Let the Coq au Vin rest for 10 minutes on the Keep Warm function.
  8. Taste to add salt and pepper if necessary.

Notes

  1. For a lighter flavor, use a dry white wine like a Pinot Gris, instead of the red.
  2. The alcohol usually cooks off by the time it is served, but if you don't want to use wine and cognac, replace it with:
  • Abricot, peach or pear juice instead of Cognac.
  • Chicken stock and 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar instead of the wine.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1813Total Fat: 110gSaturated Fat: 35gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 74gCholesterol: 975mgSodium: 1450mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 178g

    Note: We are not certified nutritionists and these estimates are approximate. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This website is written and produced for informational purposes only.

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    If you enjoyed that, check out our other French recipes in Instant Pot that are classic and easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt!

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