What is “Coq au Vin”?

Food and wars are usually not two subjects that you expect to find together, yet countless dishes have been created following a victory or an event among other we have :

– The Croissant to mark the victory of the Austrian over the besieging Ottoman troops

– The Beef Wellington following the victory of the Duke of Wellington and the Allies Coalition against Napoleon the 1st at the battle of Waterloo

– Chicken Marengo made with whatever was available on that day (chicken, tomatoes, crayfish…) to feed the victorious Bonaparte at the Battle of Marengo

The “Coq au vin” is no different if not older in the time frame as it happened nearly 2000 years ago.

Julius Caesar was leading his victorious Legions defeating Gauls’ Celts tribes one after the other and expanding the dominion of Rome, facing him Vercingetorix was the first Gaul leader to unite the tribes against the invader. 

As he was besieged by Caesar in the Oppidum of Gergovia (heavily fortified Gaulish city), Vercingetorix decided mock Caesar and to offer him a cockerel, symbol of the unbowed Gauls, but also to show they had food aplenty and that their fighting spirit would not be broken by the siege. Caesar decided to return the taunt by inviting Vercingetorix for a “cena” (dinner, literally “last supper”) where he served the cockerel cooked in wine to his guest.

The following day Caesar and his 30 000 strong legions suffered his unique and most humiliating crushing defeat of the Gauls campaign at the battle of Gergovia.

Now without needing to fight anyone if you want to prepare a coq au vin this is what you will need (and it’s very easy) :

  1. A cockerel or a chicken, diced
  2. Spring onions, carrots and mushrooms, a couple cloves of garlic (potatoes can also be added)
  3. Diced lard
  4. A glass of Marc (pomace brandy) and also Parsley
  5. A bouquet garnished with Thyme, Laurel, Oregano
  6. Red wine
  7. Salt and pepper

Using the red wine, carrots and bouquet you create a marinade and leave the diced cockerel overnight.

In the saucepan you  sear the meat, add the crushed garlic and then the brandy for a flambé.

Once ready you add the reserved wine marinade, lards, onions, mushrooms and parsley and let cook for 2h30.

Tip of some cooks is too fry-pan the lard first to reduce the amount of fat in the dish

As you can see coq au vin is really simple to realize hope you will enjoy some at home

And for more tips about French Gastronomy from real foodies come and see us in Paris.

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