Robertson Sweet Red Wine
Marinate chicken – Using a glass or ceramic bowl, marinate the chicken overnight in the red wine, onion and herbs. 12 hours is the minimum recommended, up to 24 hours. Beyond this is still fine but doesn’t really add anything more, I’ve found.
This step infuses the chicken with flavour and is an essential part of what makes Coq au Vin so great. So don’t skip it!
Reduce wine – Strain the red wine into a pot and reduce it by half on the stove. This intensifies the flavour, cooks out most of the alcohol and reduces the amount of liquid down to the right amount so you end up with a lovely thickened stew sauce by the time the chicken is cooked instead of a dilute, watery soup.
Dry chicken – Separate the onion and herbs from the chicken (because we add them into the stew at different times). Place the chicken in a paper towel-lined tray, then use paper towels to pat the chicken dry. This ensures that the chicken browns nicely. Wet chicken just won’t get a nice golden crust.
Sear chicken – Using a large heavy-based pot 26cm / 10.5″ or larger), heat oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken thighs first, starting with the skin side down, until they become a deep, dark golden colour. It will be darker than usual because the chicken is stained by red wine. Flip and repeat on the other side.
In this step, we are just searing the outside of the chicken for flavour. The inside will still be raw which is fine since we will cook it through when we braise it.
Once the thighs are browned, remove and add the drumsticks. Because of the shape of the drumsticks, it’s harder to brown them evenly. Just rotate them to do the best you can – sear 3 or 4 sides, about 5 minutes in total.