Sunday Supper: Coq au vin with a difference

It has been a while since I offered a “Sunday Supper” post. I am committed to urging you all to think about good, slow, and sometimes important meals, with people, on Sundays. Alas, today I was not with people for Sunday Supper, but I have a post anyway.

Today I set a challenge for myself. I wanted to make Julia Child’s Coq au vin.

“But Father! But Father!” you might be saying, “That’s no challenge! You’ve made that before. You know how to do it already.”

Ah, yes… but today I made it with a difference. I used hot plates (sent by a reader from my wish list – thanks KA!).

Since life has changed, not ended, I am cooking in a new way. I wanted to see if I could make a relatively complicated entree. I have an induction hotplate and a standard coil hotplate.

So, we begin. Never mind the superfluous onion. It looks nice.


The tools.



I determined also to make the Oignons glacés à brun… braised pearl onions and also the Champignons sautés au beurre… mushrooms braised in butter.  I had to get my head around the stages, timing of the production, with two non-gas, less-hot, heat sources.

I started with the oignons.


They are doing well.


In the meantime, I did the lardons.  And then browned the chicken.  I used thighs, which were on sale.  I made a half recipe, by the way.

So, browned and reassembled and ready for the next stage.


In goes the cognac and in goes the fire.


When the flames subsided, in go the garlic, the bundle of herbs wrapped up with dental floss (I didn’t have an cheese cloth), tomato paste, garlic,…


Here is the wine.  Fairly cheap, but surprisingly good at $10, this is 100% pinot noir, steel-barrel, from Languedoc, did the trick.  The rest was chicken stock.


Adding the bay leaf.


It needed then to simmer for about 20 minutes, during which time I did the mushrooms.



At the end of the process, I extracted the chicken and lardon and put them into the warm mushroom pan (after taking them out).  Then I simmered the cooking liquid and added my beurre manié using a wire whip to thicken the concoction.










A few comments.

First, in one of my apartments in Rome I cooked on a hotplate and got pretty good with it.  It can be done.  You have to think it all through carefully, but it can be done.  This wasn’t new.

Second,  this was the best Coq au vin I have ever made.  The chicken was fork-tender.  The flavors were well-blended and deep.  It was not the full recipe.  I cut it down to about half.  However, if I had had a dessert course, salad, potatoes or noodles or rice, it would have served four without left-overs.

Third, the next time, I will have to tackle the Boeuf Bourguignon. That is a more complicated recipe and it requires a high temp baking step that I am still contemplating. I think I have a way to do it, but… we shall see.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. benedetta says:

    That looks so delicious, Fr. Z. But, one thing worries me: do you no longer have access to a stove??

  2. capchoirgirl says:

    This. Looks. Divine.
    Post-Christmas, I am going to make Boeuf Bourgignon. I’m very excited to try it.

  3. Golly. the best ever and done on a hot plate? Proof that a good cook can do anything. [happy to see you still have that heavy Creuset]

    The photo of the chicken bone is a nice touch. haha. I guess it was good!

  4. Elizabeth D says:

    lol! good job Fr Z!! I can think of some Monsignors I have much affection for who I imagine might like some of this!

  5. Kathleen10 says:

    Love it! Well done Father, and thank you for the photos. It’s like reading Bon Apetit! Hope I spelled that right.
    I am tackling making bread from scratch, as in, grinding my own wheat flour, etc. I am almost scared to start, having invested quite a bit in equipment. I have to make about 4000 loaves to make back my investment. I aim to also make a really good chicken soup, and begin canning. Never done any of this, but, I’m going to do my best. What fun!

  6. kallman says:

    The higher fat content of the thighs will contribute to both flavor and tenderness. I do not envy your lack of gas for the cooking, it is so hard without it. What sort of butter do you have there? Do you add a drop of oil to stop the solids from burning?

  7. frjim4321 says:


  8. Nan says:

    @bebedetta, I was thinking “LeDoomsday Cuisine” in which Father uses the electricity generated by his personal windmill or solar panels in order to cook.

  9. Jeannie_C says:

    Boeuf Bourguignon can be cooked in your Le Creuset pot on a burner, no need for an oven. [Yes, I know.] Been there, done that. Delicious wishes!

  10. Jeannie_C: Yes, I know. However, in the recipe there is a step with the oven. I am working the problem.

  11. Angie Mcs says:

    I love using my Le Creuset, in large part because of its versatility, cook top or oven, and because one can make a wonderful meal and serve in it. With Christmas coming, our kitchen will be awash in green!

    It’s so helpful, Father, that you put up photos in stages, as you cook. And everything looks wonderful. What can be nicer than sitting around a lovingly decorated and deliciously cooked meal with good friends? A cozy fire going and a gentle snowfall would be the crowning touch for your excellent comfort meals!

    Thank you for sharing and inspiring us.

    Kathleen: Best wishes with your new adventures with bread making.

  12. Dismas says:

    I wonder if Julia Child is in Purgatory? Does anyone know if she was Catholic or baptized? After this post in addition to the penitential preparation on a hot plate who knows? Eternal rest grant her, O Lord, and let perpetual shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

  13. An American Mother says:

    Father, if you have access to the outdoors, you can make a cardboard box oven.
    We used them frequently in Scouting, they work well and you can get a surprising amount of heat out of them. And they are reusable and last a long time with proper care.
    Plans here:
    Discussion and tips here:

  14. Jeannie_C says:

    If the good Padre would share with us the step he is working out perhaps we could help come up with a solution and he could choose from the suggestions. I have tweaked many a recipe (been cooking 40 years).

  15. Liz says:

    Mmm…the next best thing is leftovers on Monday! I love leftovers.

  16. Superb! Bravo! The pictures demonstrate the excellence…the colors are correct and the gravy’s thickness is perfection. What about the cholesterol? [It was delicious, thanks.]

  17. mike cliffson says:

    :Motley monk, even wi’out Atkins, wot I say is
    Cholesterol, shomemesterol.
    Cor, looks delicious.
    Me I can’t get a french herb balance right without buying a bouquet garni which the y don’t have on sale round here.

  18. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I hate these posts, which I usually read at work. They make me ravenous till supper time.

  19. Liz says:

    With all due respect, Motley Monk, I think anything out of Julia Child’s cookbook is going to be healthy. Her food is real, made from real ingredients. Yum. I love her recipes.

  20. acardnal says:

    I’ve never been one to enjoy a meal cooked in red wine. The meat seems overwhelmed by the taste of the red wine. I know, I know . . . I just haven’t had it cooked properly.

  21. wmeyer says:

    What about the cholesterol? [It was delicious, thanks.]

    The canard of dietary cholesterol: What about cholesterol in food? For most people, the mix of fats in the diet influences cholesterol in the bloodstream far more than cholesterol in food does. … As it turns out, most people make more cholesterol than they absorb from their food.

    That from Harvard:

    I also recall hearing, decades ago, of an Aussie study which concluded that permeability of the veins was essential to the body’s ability to carry away excess cholesterol. The same study confirmed that healthy amounts of vitamin C aided in that.

  22. LisaP. says:

    that fits in well with the “Nourishing Traditions” cookbook, Weston Price, GAPS stuff I’ve been reading a lot of lately. My recollection is that blood vessels are strongly affected by inflammation, that perpetual inflammation can be a big factor in how they hold up over time and whether they collect plaque. Given that, folks who dump red meat or dark meat in chicken and substitute processed carbs, for example, could be creating a cholesterol problem they didn’t need to have. But my memory might be wrong. It was convincing to me, since I see too many folks I know developing heart disease despite trying to moderate their fat and cholesterol intake, and developing other inflammation related (potentially) problems.

    Haven’t made this meal in forever, and always did it on the amateur anyway. But now I’m thinking it’s time again .. . . . am enjoying the meal posts here more and more each time.

  23. kellym says:

    Hmmm good to know about the Vitamin C part. Guess I’ll add it to my cholesterol-controlling supplement regimen.

    About 6-7 years ago I was given a large Le Creuset Dutch Oven and it became my go-to item for just about any cooking. But my Coq au Vin never looked that good – sigh.

  24. wmeyer says:

    Hmmm good to know about the Vitamin C part. Guess I’ll add it to my cholesterol-controlling supplement regimen.

    Bear in mind that info is from perhaps 30 years ago, and I have no idea whether it is still considered reliable.

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