Never a Dead Time for Drinking Wine

I have mentioned a number of times before that every year for our anniversary, The Ranting Wife and I go away for a weekend. Each year one of us does all the planning and the other is left in the dark, often until we are on the road to our location. To keep the budget in check, virtually all of our trips are within driving distance.

This past year was my turn to plan. Where to go? What to do? As our anniversary is in early November, we are generally at a dead time in the calendar. Fall festivals like Oktoberfest and leaf watching are done. Christmas activities have not started. Anything that smacks of a warm weather activity is long closed. If we were in a more southern climate this might not be as big of a problem, but in the Cleveland area, early November is dead, dead, dead. This year it was time to go east. I decided to go to the Finger Lakes region of New York. For those uninitiated, there are a series of long, narrow lakes in western New York that were carved out by the glaciers. Around and in between the lakes are a series of wineries. Not a few. Not a bunch. A ton of them. There are over 100 wineries in the area due to the moist climate and the area produces some pretty good Riesling wines. Early November is NOT a dead time for drinking wine!

The problem about visiting wineries is the driving factor. I know you can taste the wines and spit them out, but who really does that unless it is their job? Hit a number of wineries and after all those tasting sessions, you really should not be behind the wheel. You can bring a friend who doesn’t drink (or at least not that day), but that could be hard to find. We did the next best step and hired a wine tour. The wine tour was a private car that the driver asked what we were looking for in a wine or winery and then made the decisions based on our feedback, the proximity of wineries and our time. Our guide found us quite a few great wineries and in addition to doing all the driving for us, even dropped us off right at the door of each winery and picked us up again when we were done. It was a luxury that I am not sure we’d do if we were visiting just a few wineries, but we were able to go to eight in a five-hour period and was well worth the cost. If you are planning a winery tour, you may want to check something like that out.

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Wine is a central player to this dish. Chicken in wine.

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Chicken, veggies, BACON and wine. What’s not to love?

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Start with the bacon.

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Then brown up the chicken. I went the thigh route versus using all different cuts.

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Here is where a lot of the flavor comes in. The onions, carrots and mushrooms really build a great earthy base for the wine to add its richness.

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With the wine.

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The herb bouquet is added in.

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This is one of the best dishes to come into after being outside in cold weather. The smells are glorious and it is a hearty dish without ending up as a lump in your stomach.

Coq au Vin

Prep Time: 45 min | Cook Time: 45 min | Makes: 6


  • 4 slice(s) bacon, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoon(s) butter or margarine
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) ground black pepper
  • 1 (3 1/2 pounds) chicken, cut into 8 pieces and skin removed from all but wings
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 18 (generous 1 cup) pearl onions, peeled
  • 10 ounce(s) mushrooms, trimmed
  • 1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cup(s) dry red wine
  • 1 1/3 cup(s) chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon(s) tomato paste
  • 1 stalk(s) celery
  • 12 sprig(s) chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoon(s) chopped parsley
  • 2 bay leaves


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In 5-quart Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp. With slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Reduce heat to medium and add butter to drippings in pot. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to Dutch oven, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per side, using tongs to transfer chicken pieces to bowl as they are browned.

2. Add chopped onion and carrot to Dutch oven and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to bowl with chicken. Add pearl onions to Dutch oven and cook, stirring, untilbrowned, about 6 minutes; transfer to bowl. Add mushrooms to pot and cook, stirring, until browned,about 6 minutes; transfer to bowl.

3. Add flour to Dutch oven and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. With wire whisk, whisk in 1/2 cup wine untilsmooth. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups wine, broth, and tomato paste. Heat to boiling, whisking constantly; boil 2 minutes. Return chicken, vegetables, and threefourths of bacon to Dutch oven.

4. With string, tie together celery, parsley sprigs, and bay leaves; add to Dutch oven. Cover and place inoven. Bake, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes.

5. When chicken is tender and sauce is slightly thickened, skim fat and discard celery bundle. Sprinklecoq au vin with remaining bacon and chopped parsley. Makes 6 main-dish servings. Nutritional information is based on one serving.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Baking3, Chicken2, French, Low Carb, Main Dish 3, Pork2, Recipes, Vegetable4, Wine

Author:The Ranting Chef

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10 Comments on “Never a Dead Time for Drinking Wine”

  1. jetr1
    January 3, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    Looking good.


  2. January 3, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    Mais, oui – always a winning dish! Wishing you all the best for 2014!


  3. January 3, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    Hiring a car for the winery tours is a great idea. We may do that to do the Bourbon trail here in Kentucky. Your chicken dish looks wonderful, will be trying that this week. Any idea what leaving the mushrooms out might do to the taste. My husband swears he doesn’t like mushrooms, I think it’s more the texture, but if he sees mushrooms he usually won’t eat the dish.


    • January 3, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

      Hmmm..You could leave them out but they bring such a nice earthy flavor. If the flavor is fine but the texture is the issue, you could reduce the broth and equal amount of mushroom/veggie broth. Another idea is to chop the mushrooms very small. They will easily get lost in the dish and after he loves it you can tell him that he’s eaten mushrooms and should continue to do so in the future! 😉


  4. January 3, 2014 at 6:57 pm #

    That looks amazing! I am originally from the Finger Lakes region but didn’t appreciate it until I became an adult. Great idea to do the wine tour.


  5. January 3, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    This is one of the dishes i was tested on in school…..great dish wonderful flavor.


  6. January 3, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    Looks delicious! I’m definitely going to have to try this soon. Thanks for sharing!


  7. January 4, 2014 at 8:57 am #

    I agree — wine is always welcome. Coq au Vin was the first real French dish I cooked many, many years ago. I will try your version.


  8. January 4, 2014 at 9:36 am #

    Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday… Glad you did because I’m always eager to read new recipes – can’t wait to try this one! Happy New Year!


  9. January 4, 2014 at 9:39 am #

    What a wonderful idea for an Anniversary trip!! I love the fact that the two of you take turns in planning surprise trips. So cool… 🙂
    The Coq au Vin looks fabulous, and absolutely perfect for this sub zero weather we’ve been having. I think you’ve just “planned” my dinner for tomorrow!! Have a lovely day.. 🙂


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