Gene Kelly’s Coq Au Vin Recipe

Yesterday I was wandering aimlessly looking at recipes on my phone and saving the ones that sounded good.  One of the recipes I came across was a Coq Au Vin recipe that belonged to famous Hollywood actor, Gene Kelly.


The recipe was shown as a photograph (below) and you really have to look closely to be able to make it out.  Below the image is the recipe which I have written word-for-word.  I’m going to be making this for tonight’s dinner!   In case you’d like to print the recipe, I’ve saved this as a MS Word online file, which you may access via this link:



The extra steps that make this version so good include browning the chicken and vegetables, adding brandy (flamed as it is put into the stew) and, most crucial of all, removing the finished chicken and vegetables from the sauce to about half its former quantity by a quick boil.

This last intensifies the flavor of the sauce immeasurably.  “Beurre manié” is added to make the sauce a little richer still – and thicken it slightly.

3 chicken breasts, halved
6 chicken legs
24 medium mushrooms
24 tiny white onions
1/4 cup butter
1/4 lb. thick sliced bacon
1 teaspoon sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup brandy
2 cups dry red wine
1 can chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon dry parsley
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup water

Dry the chicken pieces thoroughly and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.  Wash the mushrooms and remove the stems.

Peel the onions.  To do this effortlessly, drop them into a pot of boiling water.  Count to 10 slowly, then drain the onions and run under cold water.  The skin will slip off between your fingers.  Cut bacon into half-inch pieces and cook in butter in a large Dutch oven or casserole until lightly browned.  Remove bacon and drain.  Pour half of the accumulated fat into a second large pan or skillet so you can use two pans for browning the chicken.

Add the chicken to fat, skin side down, without crowding.  Cook it over medium heat until lightly browned on both sides.  As pieces brown, remove them and add more.  When all are browned, set aside.

From now on you will work only with the heavy casserole dish.  Put the onions into it, add sugar and cook, stirring until onions are lightly browned.  Then brown mushrooms and garlic.  Put the chicken back in the pot and pour most of the brandy in over it.  Retain about one tablespoonful and put it into a ladle.  Light the brandy in the ladle and pour it, flaming, into the casserole to ignite the rest of the brandy.  When you do this, stand back, as the whole casserole will flame up instantly.  When the flame dies, add the wine, broth, water and herbs.  Cover pan and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.  Remove chicken, bacon, mushrooms and onions.

Bring stock left in pan to a broil, skimming off fat as it rises.   Boil stock rapidly for about five minutes or until liquid is reduced to about two cups.  Mix one tablespoon butter and flour together thoroughly with a fork and stir the Beurre manié into the sauce.  Cook until the sauce thickens.  Strain and pour over chicken.

If you are making the Coq Au Vin ahead, strain the sauce into a separate container and store it in the refrigerator.

To reheat, place covered chicken in 325 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Arrange the platter.  Meanwhile, reheat sauce separately and pour over chicken.  Serve with rice that has been fluffed up with butter and parsley.


Below is a video which will let you hear how Coq Au Vin is pronounced.


And here is a video to hear how Beurre manié is pronounced.


You can read about the origins of this recipe on the Lobel’s Culinary Club website (Click Here to go there now).

Just for Fun:  In the image of the original recipe above, it has the address of 725 North Rodeo Drive shown.  So, out of curiosity I decided to look it up on Google Maps and here’s what it looks like!



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