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Slow cooker coq au vin

Justine Pattison / 28 December 2016

Coq au vin, the classic French recipe, is given the slow cooker treatment by Justine Pattison.

Slow cooker coq au vin
Slow cooker coq au vin

Preparation time

20 minutes

Cooking time

Up to 7 hours




  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 675g)
  • 3 rashers smoked rindless back bacon
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 16 small shallots (about 400g)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp plain flour (25g)
  • 2 tbsp brandy (optional)
  • 150ml red wine
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 200g baby button mushrooms
  • 1 fresh bay leaf or 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2–3 bushy thyme sprigs or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Ground black pepper


A real classic given the slow cooker treatment. Chicken thighs remain more succulent than breasts after a long cook and are cheaper too. Don’t worry if you don’t have any brandy handy, just leave it out. Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans, garnished with freshly chopped parsley.

Trim any excess fat off the chicken thighs with kitchen scissors and re-form into a neat shape. Season the chicken all over with a little salt and plenty of pepper. Cut the bacon into short, roughly 2cm-wide strips. Peel and finely chop the onion, peel and crush the garlic and peel the shallots.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat and fry the chicken for about 5 minutes, turning the thighs occasionally until lightly browned. (Browning smooth side up to start with will help set the shape.)

Transfer to the slow cooker. Return the pan to the heat. Add the bacon strips and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until beginning to crisp, turning often. Scatter on top of the chicken.

Next, add the chopped onion to the pan and cook over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes until golden brown, adding the garlic for the last minute of cooking time and stirring often. Tip the onion and garlic into the slow cooker with the chicken pieces, sprinkle the flour over and toss gently together.

Deglaze the frying pan with the brandy, if using, stirring well to remove as much of the tasty sediment from the bottom of the pan as possible. Add half the red wine and bubble for a few seconds more. Pour the hot brandy and wine, and the remaining wine, over the chicken and vegetables.

Stir in the canned tomatoes, shallots, mushrooms, bay leaf and thyme. Cover with the lid and cook on HIGH for 3–4 hours or LOW for 5–7 hours, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning to taste before serving.

353 calories per serving 

Extract from Slow Cooker Without the Calories by Justine Pattison, Orion, £14.99.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.