I got a Dutch Oven for Christmas last year, and started what I thought would be a tradition – New Year’s Eve Coq Au Vin. This year I tried the dish again, but, unfortunately, it didn’t come out as well as my previous attempts.
I used Molly Stevens’s recipe. I have Stevens’s braising book which is great for learning the basic techniques.
I purchased chicken pieces with the bone in. I think tried to get too many pieces into the pot, but ultimately downfall was the cooking time. I thought it would be difficult to cook the chicken too long – but I was wrong.
We left the house for a couple hours to visit a party and when we came back to finish the dish it wasn’t possible to get the chicken out in whole pieces – the chicken was literally falling off the bone. This made it really difficult to create the final sauce.
I used fresh pearl onions. Unless I had a lot of time, I think I would use frozen in the future. Peeling pearl onions is very finicky, and adds a lot to the prep-time.
Also if I was cooking for a group, I would consider preparing a day in advance. Braised foods have a property where the seem to get better the next day, and some Coq Au Vin recipes call for leaving the chicken to sit overnight in the refrigerator.