Coq au Riesling is succulent chicken Riesling dish made with cremini mushrooms, pancetta and braised in a dry white wine cream sauce.
What is Coq Au Riesling
If you haven’t heard of Coq Au Riesling, it’s a one-pan braised chicken dish served in a creamy wine sauce with mushrooms and garlic and is basically the best thing I’ve ever tasted. The chicken stays so moist (I cringe at that word, but it’s the perfect descriptor) and tender that it quite literally falls off the bone. Seriously. And because this is a fairly old recipe, think 20th century, there are many different renditions of this dish so I adapted my version from Nigel Slater’s original recipe. Words cannot even describe how delicious this is.
Coq au Riesling is pronounced cohk oh ree·sluhng. This dish is a French chicken stew and it’s preparation is similar to Coq Au Vin, only it is braised in a dry white Riesling wine instead of a burgundy red wine. In fact, this dish can be braised in any type of wine and often is, depending on the region and local wines available in the area.
Coq Au Riesling originates from Alsace, a region of France known for its dry Rieslings and German influence, where Rieslings originate from. Riesling is used in many traditional Alsace dishes such as baeckeoffe and of course Coq au Riesling.
Coq Au Riesling Ingredients
- Chicken Breasts & Drumsticks (bone-in): I love the combination of lean breast meat combined with flavorful dark meat drumsticks. When you cook bone-in chicken drumsticks the flavor that’s inside the bone spreads out into the stew and also prevents the meat from getting dry. You can use any combination breasts, drumsticks and thighs that you prefer. If you choose to use boneless, skinless chicken be sure to reduce the cooking time.
- Dry Riesling: This recipe calls for a dry Riesling but any white wine or even red wine can be used to braise the meat. It is said you should cook with a wine you like to drink and that applies here too. See below for a bit more on which wine to choose including how to select a dry Riesling.
- Pancetta: Pancetta is cured Italian bacon and bacon can substituted as well. Cut the pancetta into lardons (slices). About ¼-inch thick to 1-inch long, the thicker the better.
- Fingerling Potatoes: These potatoes add a tasty, sweet and complex flavor. If you can’t find fingerling, small potatoes, or new potatoes are an excellent choice.
- Yellow Onion: The onions enhance the stew with a mild sweet flavor.
- Mushrooms: This recipe uses Cremini aka baby bellas but you also use button, portobello, shitake or your favorite wild mushroom.
- Heavy Cream: The cream is the thickening agent that turns the sauce into a creamy wine sauce.
- Garlic Cloves: Simmering the cloves adds a soft, sweet buttery flavor to the sauce.
- Fresh Sage: The strong herbal aroma and earthy flavor of fresh sage works well with this flavorful dish.
- Butter: The butter adds scrumptious flavor and teams up with the heavy cream to thicken the stew.
- Olive Oil: The finishing touch for this creamy, dense soup.
(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and instructions.)
How to Make Coq Au Riesling
First, add the butter to a heavy-bottomed pan (I used this Le Creuset braiser) and add a touch of olive oil. Then add the chicken (I used 2 breasts and four drumsticks) and brown all over then remove from the pan, leaving the oil behind. Next, add the onions and pancetta and fry until the onions are translucent and the pork fat has rendered. Add the garlic and allow to cook for another 30 seconds then remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.
Place the chicken skin-side down in the pan (be sure to season with salt and pepper first) and brown again on all sides (I added some fresh sage during this step, as well). Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove mixture from the pan. Add the butter and flour and whisk together to form a roux. Add the chicken, mushrooms and onion mixture back into the pan and pour in the wine. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes have passed, remove the lid, increase the temperature and add the cream. Cook for another 5 minutes and serve with chopped parsley and a fresh baguette!
What you are left with is a creamy, decadent chicken Riesling dish with incredible depth of flavor! In fact, this would be the perfect dish to serve at a holiday get together, Christmas or Valentine’s Day! Your friends and family will be so impressed!
Choosing a Riesling or Any Wine
A Riesling is often associated as a sweet wine but Alsatian Riesling’s or Riesling D’Alsace are typically dry and crisp, with acidity and aromas of pears, apples, grapefruit, flowers and spice. The more common German Riesling wines tend to be sweeter and are often made with apricots, peaches and other sweeter fruits.
- To choose a dry Riesling look for labels that say “Dry” or “Medium Dry” versus “Sweet” and “Medium-sweet.”
- Dry and Medium Dry Riesling’s will have a sugar-to-acid ratio of not more than 2. The sweetest Rieslings have a sugar-to-acid ratio greater than 4.1.
- As mentioned above, choose a wine you like to drink even if it’s not a Riesling. If you’d like to stick to the recipe as close to as possible, choose a dry white wine. Also, when cooking with wine it does not need to be an expensive bottle of wine but don’t use Cooking Wine!
- Coq au Vin Blanc or Poulet au Vin Blanc: This is what is called chicken in white wine sauce and you can make this dish with any other type of white wine (or red) such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, or Pinot Blanc.
Variations & Cooking Tips
- Although not as flavorful but more convenient and quicker, substitute skinless/boneless thighs by adjusting the cooking time to about half as boneless chicken does not take as long to cook.
- Garnish with bread or croutons.
- Serve with mashed potatoes, bread loaf, crusty bread or anything that can soak but tasty sauce.
- Turkey au Vin: Perfect for Thanksgiving leftovers substitute chicken for turkey with this dish.
Leftovers can be refrigerated and stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Stews with dairy products are not best for freezing so I don’t recommend it.
How to Reheat
Prior to reheating, spoon off any solidified fat on the surface, if you prefer.
This chicken Riesling dish can be reheated on a stove over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and adding more wine, as needed. The stew can also be reheated in an oven at 350ºF, until heated through (about 30 minutes).
Although the results won’t be as good, a microwave can also be used in a pinch. This method is best for small or individual servings. Place the stew in a covered microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second bursts, stirring in between.
- 2 yellow onions finely diced
- 1 cup pancetta finely chopped
- 4 tbs. butter
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 2 chicken breasts and 4 drumsticks (bone-in)
- 1 cup of bella mushrooms
- 1 tbs. freshly chopped sage (optional)
- 2 cups Riesling White Wine (or cooking wine of your choice)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup fingerling potatoes
- 4 TBS. butter
- 4 TBS. flour
- To Serve
- chopped parsley
- fresh baguette
- In a thick-bottomed pan, add the butter and olive oil.
- Add the chicken and brown on all sides then remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the onions and pancetta and fry until the onions are translucent and the pork has rendered its fat.
- Add the minced garlic for about 30 seconds, then remove mixture from pan and set aside.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then place skin-side-down in the pan and brown all over. (I added 1 tbs. of freshly chopped sage during this step as well but it is optional).
- Once the chicken is browned, add the mushrooms and cook (with the lid on) for about 5 minutes. Remove from pan.
- Add the ingredients for the roux and whisk to combine.
- Add the chicken, mushrooms, fingerling potatoes, and onion mixture back into the pan and add the Riesling.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes (with lid on).
- Then, remove the lid, increase the temperature and add the heavy cream.
- Cook for another 5 minutes then serve immediately.
- Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and fresh bread!
Le Creuset Brasier
While I was exploring the Le Creuset Outlet a few months ago, I started talking to the manager about my cooking site and, long story short, she let me walk out with a few gorgeous pieces to use for the blog! (How lucky am I?!) One of those pieces was this incredible Le Creuset brasier (in pictures above) and as soon as I saw it, I knew exactly what I was going to make. The classic French dish, Coq Au Riesling. Sidebar: I’m such a geek. I was so excited about this dish that I made this the same day!
Disclaimer: I don’t drink wine because of personal reasons; however, I do occasionally cook with it. I am simply careful to cook the alcohol out of the dish before tasting.