Sous vide coq au vin

Sous Vide Coq Au Vin

Sous Vide is a great way of cooking chicken for Coq au Vin and it makes it super easy to achieve perfect results every time. This French classic is incredible yet it can be easy to overcook the breasts or even have a runny, weak sauce. Make ahead friendly and packed full of flavour, this high-tech version of a classic is killer!

sous vide coq au vin recipe

Why Make Coq Au Vin Sous Vide?

I love cooking Sous Vide for so many reasons but the stand out factor for me is the foolproof reliability, especially when cooking chicken.

My Parisian flat doesn’t have the biggest kitchen and making perfectly cooked main courses for more than 4 people is difficult. Having perfectly cooked chicken ready to crisp up and a pre-made sauce makes for a zero-stress showstopper. This is why I cook Coq au Vin Sous Vide!

Below I’ll go over why I think making this French classic Sous Vide beats the one pot, braised version.

The Chicken is Perfectly Cooked

With Sous Vide you can cook chicken perfectly, every time. Wether you use breast or leg, it can be cooked to perfection without having to worry about one being ready before the other.

Using sous vide makes it impossible to overcook chicken and if your dinner guests are delayed, no worries, it’ll happily sit in water bath until you’re ready to eat.

Note: I use an Anova Immersion Circulator placed into a tub of water. I also use a Vacuum Chamber sealer but you can use double sandwich bags instead.

Crispy Chicken Skin

Browning and braising skin-on chicken leads to wet, rubbery skin that, I personally, am not a big fan of. Yes, a classic braised or poached chicken will always have this quality but I think crispy skin is incredible for this dish.

I love to precook chicken legs, cool them down and roast them for 20 minutes to reheat and crisp up the skin. When the legs cook sous vide, the gelatine in the skin breaks down meaning it gets crispy really quickly. You can also pan fry them directly but I find that there’s a lot of oil splattering.

Easy to Make Ahead

Precooking the chicken really reduces stress and, as I mentioned above, roasting them quickly to reheat them works so well. It’s still incredibly juicy and tender and you get a great flavour. The chicken legs can be cooked one day before and kept in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.

It’s not just the chicken, the sauce is fantastic pre-made and warmed up just before you’re ready to eat. Using really good home made chicken stock really makes the sauce and you won’t even have to add flour!

What You’ll Need

To make Sous Vide Coq au Vin, you’ll need:

Chicken: It’s best to use a free-range organic chicken for flavour. You can use skin on leg, thigh or breast for this – I prefer a whole leg as it’s easy to crisp up the skin. You also remove the skin if you want a healthier version.

Chicken Stock: Good home made, gellified chicken stock is best for this recipe. The gelatine in the stock will result in a thick, pure flavoured sauce. If you’re using stock bought stock you can add gelatine or alternatively make a roux to thicken the sauce.

Red Wine: Use cheap red wine for this recipe – there’s no benefit in using expensive drinking wine! It doesn’t really matter where the wine is from although red wine from Burgundy is more authentic.

Shallot & Garlic Shallot and garlic add a lovely base aromatic flavour and sweetness to the sauce. Avoid using white or red onion if possible.

Bacon Lardons: Smoked bacon lardons are a signature flavour of Coq au Vin. You can use non smoked or alternatively use chicken bacon if you don’t eat pork.

Thyme: Fresh thyme adds a wonderful flavour that is perfect with the red wine sauce. Avoid using dry thyme as the flavour is too strong.

Mushrooms: I use Chesnut/Cremini/Brown mushrooms but you can use whatever mushrooms you want. Small white mushrooms will work perfectly well for this too.


Makes enough for 2 portions.

  • 2 chicken legs or breasts, skin on (alternatively 4, skin on, boneless chick thighs)
  • 500ml red wine
  • 1L home made chicken stock (or 400ml of stock bought stock)
  • 100g smoked bacon lardons
  • 8 Cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves only, finely chopped
  • Polenta, as required

How to Make Sous Vide Coq Au Vin

  1. Preheat a water bath with an immersion circulator to 75c/167f for legs or 62c/144f for breasts.
  2. Season the chicken pieces that you’re using with salt and pepper and place into a sous vide or zip-lock bag.
  3. Place the bag into the water bath and cook for 1.5 hours or up to a maximum of 4.

  4. To make the sauce, add a small amount of olive oil to a sauté pan and add the lardons. Cook on a medium-high heat until browned all over and crispy. Remove and reserve.

  5. Reserve 1 tbsp of fat and add the mushrooms, cook, undisturbed for 2 minutes so they brown. Sauté for another 2 minutes. Remove and reserve.

  6. Add another tablespoon of fat to the pan and add the shallots, cook on a low heat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.

  7. Deglaze with the red wine and reduce until it’s syrupy. Add the chicken stock and the lardon and mushrooms back into the pan.

  8. Bright to a boil and reduce to a simmer, reduce the sauce until it starts to thicken. This may take 20-30 minutes depending on the width of your pan.

  9. When the sauce coats the back of a spoon, add a few knobs of unsalted butter and stir to emulsify into the sauce.

  10. Remove the chicken and brown the skin in a frying pan. Alternatively, remove the chicken and place into the fridge until cold, remove and roast in a 220c/430f oven until crispy and heated through.

  11. Serve the chicken on a bed of creamy polenta, and coat the chicken in the red wine sauce. Serve immediately!

Want to eat more amazing French food? Check out our French recipes here.

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