I love a good slow cooker coq au vin recipe as much as the next person… but sometimes it is so refreshing to change things up a bit. We are going to use some crisp white wine rather than red in this coq au vin recipe. The result? Deliciously sultry, soul satisfying chicken. Oh, it is so damn good.
This slow cooker coq au vin recipe is: Gluten Free, Paleo and Low Carb.
Cozy up with this Slow Cooker Coq Au Vin
When I was running my cooking school, we made traditional style Coq Au Vin just like all the other cooking schools out there. I think that it is the obligatory recipe to make for any French style cooking class. Sure, it’s a good dish… but everyone is doing it. Time to break the tradition. You’re going to be amazed at the depth and character white wine brings to this recipe.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tips
We are going to cook this chicken for about 3 hours on high in a slow cooker. If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can achieve the same results with an oven proof pot with a tight fitting lid. Set your oven for 250 degrees. The times might be a little off, but not by much.
When we cook chicken in the slow cooker, I like to use chicken quarters. You get the best of both worlds with both the dark and light meat. If you are avoiding dark meat, go ahead and substitute in 4 BONE-IN chicken breast quarters. If you are going to make the chicken breast substitution, I would add in a bit more bacon and cook the breasts meat side down in the crock pot so they can absorb as much flavor as possible.
We want to use bone-in chicken for one simple reason: it is going to taste better. Well, there is a second reason. Using bone-in chicken is going to make our sauce taste incredible!
Building Flavor in a Recipe
There are so many different slow cooker coq au vin recipes out there to choose from. Many of them simply have us brown the chicken pieces and add everything else to the slow cooker. Sure, you will have slow cooked chicken at the end, but we really want to try to build the flavors so you end up with the most delicious, decadent and deliriously delightful chicken you’ve ever eaten.
To build flavor in a recipe, we need to do just a bit more work than tossing everything willy-nilly into a pot and hoping for the best three hours later. In this recipe, we will brown the chicken but then we will saute the onions, mushrooms, leeks and garlic to punch up the flavors to their maximum potential. We are going to season each layer from the onions to the garlic so they taste delicious all on their own.
Once everything tastes fantastic, then we will add all the components together in the crock pot. The resulting meal has no choice other than to be wonderful because everything we put in tasted so good to begin with. Cooking is easy when you build flavor as you go!
QUICK COOKING TIP: Use a heavy bottom pan to brown the chicken. Be sure to get the pan and the cooking fat (whether you use oil, bacon fat or ghee) really hot before adding the chicken. We want to get a beautiful brown skin. Additionally, make sure not to crowd the pan. If you add too much chicken into the pan, the temperature will fall too quickly and not be able to recover fast enough for good browning. What will happen, however, is that the chicken will lose moisture… just enough to start boiling the bird rather than browning. You’ll end up with gray, soggy skin. Nobody wants gray, soggy skin.
Let’s get this slow cooker coq au vin recipe going…
Slow Cooker Coq au Vin
- 4 Strips Bacon thick cut
- 1 TBSP Olive Oil
- 1 Whole Chicken quartered and seasoned liberally with kosher salt and pepper
- 1 Onion sliced (I use a large Spanish onion)
- ½ Cup Leeks sliced (approx 1 small leek)
- 10 oz Crimini or Baby Bella mushrooms quartered
- 5 Cloves Garlic small dice
- ½ Cup White Wine I use an unoaked French Chardonnay
- ½ Cup Beef Stock
- ½ TSP Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Sprig Rosemary
- ½ TSP Kosher Salt
- 2 TBSP Water
- 1 TSP Arrowroot or Corn Starch
Getting Ready for the Slow Cooker
- Using a heavy bottom pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the bacon when the oil is hot and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon, leaving the rendered fat in the pan and set aside.
- Increase the heat to high. Add in the chicken, skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes. Check for browning. If it looks nicely browned, flip and repeat on the other side. When the chicken is browned, remove the pan from the heat. Using tongs, add the chicken to the bottom of the slow cooker, skin side down.
- Reduce the heat to medium-high and return the pan to the heat with the fat still in the pan. Add in the onions with a good pinch of kosher salt. Stir and as the onion releases its water, scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes. When cooked, use tongs to remove the onions from the pan, keeping as much fat in the pan as possible. Add the onions over the chicken in the crock pot.
- Return the pan to the heat and add in the leeks with a pinch of salt. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring well. If they look dry, add in olive oil. When they have browned just a bit, add them to the crock pot.
- The pan should look fairly dry now. This is good. Add in the mushrooms and NO salt. Cook them until they start to release some water, about 3 minutes. Add in a pinch of salt, some olive oil and the garlic. Cook, stirring consistently, until fragrant (approx 4 minutes or so). Add the white wine and reduce for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the crock pot.
- Add the beef stock, red pepper flakes and kosher salt to the chicken. Roughly dice the cooked bacon and add to the slow cooker. Cook for 3 hours at the high setting on your crock pot.
Finishing the Coq au Vin
- Just before you remove the chicken from the slow cooker, make a slurry in a small bowl with the water and arrowroot. Set aside.
- When the chicken is ready, remove the quarters and set aside, covered with foil.
- Using a strainer, strain out the solids. Set aside.
- Add the strained braising liquid to a wide saute pan. Cook over high heat, reducing to approximately 2 cups. Reduce the heat to medium and add in the slurry, stirring constantly. The sauce will thicken nicely. If it is still too thin, make some more slurry and add sparingly!
- On a large platter, add the mushrooms and onions as a base payer. Cover with chicken and coat everything with the crazy good gravy.
- Serve hot and enjoy!
Final thoughts on the slow cooker coq au vin recipe:
If you have read this far, congratulations. You’re dedicated to making some delicious coq au vin and I’m confident that it is going to turn out great for you. I did want to touch on one thing my wife asked me about the recipe which you may be curious about as well. She asked why I used beef stock rather than chicken stock. Here’s the answer: it adds complexity to the flavor. Beef stock has a heady richness that chicken stock lacks. You will love it in this recipe.
You might be looking for some veggie side dishes to go with the slow cooker coq au vin recipe. My suggestion would be to add anything green. From an al dente broccoli to a crispy pan braised asparagus with balsamic (recipe coming soon!). I’ve made this wonderful dish before with sauteed spinach with shallots and also with sauteed brussel sprouts.
We enjoyed our meal with a delicious little merlot. It would also go well with a sturdy Italian… maybe a Barbera or a Barolo. Happy eating!