September 29, 2022



This is another very retro dish, but with a twist.  It's coq au vin but made with white wine.

I can actually remember the very first time I ate coq au vin (the red wine version).  Nick and I were on our very first motorcycle tour of France together in May 1994.  The weather was decidedly iffy and we were camping.  Nick was keen to show me a place where he had camped a couple of  years before (probably with his previous girlfriend but we won't dwell on that!).

We made our way down through France and landed up in Chinon.  The campsite there is across the river from the town itself.  We pitched the tent and as the light faded the view of the river with its lovely old  bridge, the boulevard along the river bank and the château overlooking everything, in all its splendour, was a sight I shall never forget.

We strolled across the bridge into town for dinner and, being exhausted from a long ride, fell into the first restaurant that was open.  It was the Café des Arts in the beautiful square with the fountain.  There we had coq au vin, the chicken cooked in Chinon wine, followed by crème brulée, before staggering back to the tent and our sleeping bags.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  

Chinon became our all time favourite town in France and we went back there for at least part of our holiday every year, often more than once.  Now that we spend half the year in our house in France it is almost just around the corner.  The Café des Arts has been spruced up somewhat in the intervening years but still serves great food.

This white wine version is loosely based on a Nigella Lawson recipe which you will find in her book Nigella Express.


1 pack of lardons, about 150g

1 leek, finely sliced

4 small skinless chicken thighs (or a pack of chicken mini fillets, about 350g)

a handful (half a punnet) of mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 bay leaves

1 tblsp garlic oil for frying

half a bottle of riesling wine


Heat the oil in a sauté or frying pan  that has a lid.  Fry the lardons then add the leeks and cook until softened.

Add the chicken pieces, bay leaves, mushrooms and wine, season with salt and pepper.  Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook with the lid on for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.  Stir in the cream and heat for another minute or two.  

Remove the bay leaves before serving with pasta, rice or potatoes.  Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or dill if you like.  Enjoy the rest of the bottle of riesling with the meal!

Serves 2-4, depending on the amount of chicken.  

1 comment:

  1. Lovely dish. I love coq au vin but my dear wife has a strong dislike of chicken that isn't the colour that chicken "should be" and so red wine and chicken don't mix in our house and I usually use white. Riesling is perfect - it's my favourite picnic wine for a summer day.
    I remember the square with the fountain in Chinon. It was very close to the parking places outside the mairie I think. I remember many years ago sitting in a restaurant (maybe the Café des Arts, who knows?) and watching the start of a parade which seemed to consist of lots of tractors and men shouting as I recall. Happy days.