A pressure cooker isn’t simple for comfort food, this Instant Pot coq au vin is an easy French classic.
When I first bought my Instant Pot two years ago it seemed like it would be a fad. I started sharing recipes here because most of the recipes I was reading included a lot of processed food.
But I didn’t want to dump a bottle of powdered ranch dressing or cream of mushroom soup into a pot to set it and forget it.
I bought this version of the Instant Pot and started creating my own versions of classic recipes around the world:
And chicken cooks beautifully in the Instant Pot. I probably cook one a week, so that when I’m lazy I have lots of chicken leftovers.
What is Coq au Vin?
A classic French dish, at its most basic it is a chicken stew. The name translates directly from French as rooster in wine and that’s exactly what it is, chicken on the bone braised in a wine sauce.
While it sounds like an advanced French recipe, it’s actually a great beginner recipe. It originally used a rooster instead of chicken and was considered an inexpensive peasant meal from the countryside. As rooster meat it tough, it required a long slow braise over medium heat to become tender.
Like any delicious braise, the longer you cook the meat, the more tender the meat and the more rich the flavour.
Did Julia Child Make Coq au Vin Famous?
Yes and no.
Coq au vin has been around since Julius Caesar. Legend has it that when the Emperor conquered Gaul (a region that now exists in France) he served the dish to the leaders of the Gaul Army.
He wasn’t being kind. The rooster was a symbol of valour in the region.
When Julia Child was learning to cook in France, the recipe was far different than what we see today of chicken cooked with mushrooms, onions, bacon, tomato paste and red wine. In fact, peasant recipes strived to use all parts of the animal, as none could go to waste.
So the original French recipe included every part of the rooster including the feet, kidneys and head complete with brain and cockscomb. A bit of blood was often added as a thickening agent.
Julia Child interpreted the recipe to mimic what the original flavour was while making it appetizing for Americans. She created a depth in flavour by browning the skin and and cooking them in a deep brown chicken stock and using a tablespoon tomato paste.
And for that it became famous.
Instant Pot Coq au Vin
It is possible to cook coq au vin in a slow cooker. But if I’m going to cook it really slow I’d rather put it in a dutch oven.
And while I’m not going to lie and say coq au vin in an electric pressure cooker is the same as cooking it low and slow. It is a great compromise when you don’t have all day to braise chicken.
I think Julia would approve of making it in the Instant Pot. After all she took French recipes and made them easier for the home cook.
This Instant Pot coq au vin doesn’t replace the original, but makes it worthy of a weeknight meal when you don’t have a lot of time.
What is the Best Red Wine for Coq au Vin?
The traditional coq au vin recipe Burgundy wine. But the recipe is so versatile you can use whatever you like such as a pinot noir from another region.
There are less famous versions of the dish such as coq au Riesling from Alsace, coq au vin jaune from Jura in Eastern France, coq au pourpre using a Beaujolais nouveau and the very decadent coq au Champagne.
If you want to make Instant Pot coq au vin blanc, simply substitute your favourite white wine.
I wouldn’t choose a sweeter red wine and I would never use a cooking wine. If you can’t drink it, you can’t cook with it.
Pressure Cooker Coq au Vin vs Long Braise
Although the original recipe used rooster blood, I’ll make the recipe much easier. You can thicken the sauce by any means that outlined in the Balsamic Pork Tenderloin recipe, in this case its just cornstarch and water.
Instant Pot Coq au Vin – Flavour First
There are a few things that I think are necessary to try to make this Instant Pot coq au vin flavourful:
1) Marinate the chicken with wine and the fresh thyme at least four hours or even overnight in a bowl or resealable bag.
2) Use bone-in chicken. It takes a bit more time in the Instant Pot but gives back in flavour.
3) Use chicken thighs. Some people are obsessed with white meat chicken breasts. But thighs are where the flavour is at.
4) Choose pancetta over bacon. Yes I know bacon is magic! But most supermarket bacon is junk. And the recipe calls for cubes so it doesn’t disintegrate while cooking. So unless you’re going to a butcher to get their house cured bacon I would use pancetta. I add a tablespoon of olive oil (not pancetta) if there’s not enough bacon fat on the bottom of the pot.
Straying from the Traditional Coq au Vin Recipe
You can serve coq au vin over egg noodles or mashed potatoes but I like to eat it with roasted potatoes.
You can also throw potatoes, pearl onions or other root vegetables in with the chicken. They’ll cook at the same time making it a one pot dish. Just don’t cut them too small, otherwise they’ll overcook and be mush. Remember this is a classic rustic stew so its okay to give your guests portions.
And if you’re not a fan of chicken, boeuf bourguignon is essentially the same classic French dish and instead uses beef instead of chicken.
Other Cuts of Chicken Cook Time
I have only used chicken thighs in this recipe, but these are standard Instant Pot cooking times for chicken:
- Boneless chicken breasts 6-8 minutes
- Bone-in chicken breasts 10 minutes
- Boneless chicken breasts, frozen 12 minutes, then 5 minutes NPR (natural pressure release)
- Boneless chicken thighs 8 minutes
- Bone-in chicken thighs, frozen 15 minutes, then 5 minutes NPR (natural pressure release)
Other Coq au Vin Questions
Is coq au vin healthy?
For most people wine in moderation is part of a healthy diet. Add lots of vegetables to this dish to add to the nutrition.
Is coq au vin gluten-free?
It can be if you use a gluten-free thickening agent at the end of the recipe such as arrowroot.
Is coq au vin keto?
Most keto diets allow for a bit of wine, if you are concerned about the cornstarch you can substitute arrowroot.
Is coq au vin vegan?
Sadly no as there is chicken and pork in the dish. As well, most wine is not vegan.
How is coq au vin pronounced?
Coq au vin is French and pronounced, coke o venh
Have any questions about Instant Pot Coq au Vin? Let me know in the comments below! And as Julia would say, bon appétit!