When I asked Barry Sun to pick a recipe to make around an Irish ingredient, I hadn’t expected he would go for Coq Au Vin. It’s such a french classic but not one I ever think to make, so I was so happy to read it. It’s definitely something I’ll be making soon. 

Barry Sun, if you’re not familiar with his name, is a chef with a heck of a pedigree, Etto, L’Ecrivain, Chapter One, Guibauld, Bon Appetit and Cleaver East. Today, well, before Covid 19, Barry Sun is the man behind the newly open and already much loved Volpe Nera in Blackrock. I can’t wait for this poxy virus to be gone so that I can go and taste this food. 

He is making this coq au vin with some of the best chicken money can buy in Ireland. Regan poultry is raised with compassion on an organic farm in Co. Wexford and sure we all know that Wexico secretly produces some of the best food in Ireland. Much like my pals over at Magners Farm, they have a love for what they do and the animal they raise, and this shows in their ethics and in the product they sell. As an aside, they have a one day, intro to butchery skills course, which I have my eye on to take down the line. Cutting meat is a skill I want to learn as I am a firm believer that if you’re going to eat meat, you need to treat it with great care, first when the animal is alive and then when it’s not. 

This coq au vin with polenta serves 3 to 4. The prep will take about 35 mins,  you will need to marinate the chicken overnight and the cooking time will take about 1 hr 50 mins in an oven at 150C.



•             8-12 skin on, bone in chicken thighs, organic if possible

•             8 tbsp plain flour, well seasoned

•             150g small button mushrooms, cut in half

•             1 white onion, diced

•             5 cloves of garlic, peeled

•             1 leek, diced

•             2 shallots, diced

•             2 bay leaves

•             2 sprig of thyme

•             400ml red wine

•             300ml chicken stock, homemade if possible

•             100g parsley, chopped

•             Olive oil, drizzle

•             150g bacon lardons, smoked if possible


Polenta Ingredients:

•             100g polenta

•             20g butter

•             30g Parmesan, grated

•             200ml water 

•             400ml milk



Method for coq au vin:

•             Marinate the chicken with the red wine, all the vegetables and herbs except the mushrooms in a large deep bottomed pan in the fridge overnight

•             The next day, place a colander over a large bowl and drain the marinade into a bowl to use later

•             Separate the vegetables and herbs from the chicken thighs

•             Toss the chicken thighs in seasoned flour and fry skin side down on a high heat for 4-5 minutes until the skin is a golden brown colour

•             Take the chicken from the pan and place on a plate to one side

•             Using the same pan, add in the marinated vegetables and herbs and cook until slightly coloured (3-4 mins), then add all the marinating liquid 

•             Add in the chicken stock and bring to the boil and skim any fat from the top of the liquid

•             Place the chicken in the liquid and cover with tin foil. Put the dish in the oven and cook for about 45 mins to an hour until the meat is fully cooked and comes easily away from the bone.


Polenta Method:

•             Mix water and milk in a large pot

•             Place it over a medium heat and add the polenta before the mixture comes to a boil, then once boiling turn down the heat as low as possible

•             Add in a good pinch of salt and continue to whisk regularly and cook for about 25-30 mins

•             Taste the polenta and when there is no longer a grainy texture it is fully cooked

•             Mix in the parmesan and the butter into the mixture, season well to taste and cover with clingfilm, leaving to the side until youre ready to serve


To serve

•             Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry your bacon until a light brown colour and then add the mushrooms to the pan for 2-3 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste

•             Drain the excess fat from the frying pan and take out 2 ladles of the cooking liquid from the coq au vin and reduce in a saucepan until the liquid has halved. Add in the bacon and mushrooms and mix well.

•             Serve one large spoonful of polenta, with 2-3 pieces of thigh per portion and pour the sauce over. Enjoy!

Coq Au Vin - Barry Sun -

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