Mostly Crockpot Coq au Vin

3 Feb

AKA The Best Crockpot Dinner Ever

Those of you who’ve put up with me for awhile know I have an almost unhealthy obsession with my slow cooker. I love that thing–I own three and put everything from steel-cut oats to lasagna in them. They come out for parties. They come out on Christmas. One comes out once or twice a week at least. And when I broke one earlier this year (RIP pretty stainless steel baby), I waited all of three days before breaking down to buy a new one (hello shiny red model!).

Long and short, I’ve been Crockpot cooking for a long time. So you should take this next bit to heart:

This recipe is the best thing that has ever come out of my slow cooker.

Seriously. Amazing, amazing food. It smelled so good that I hurried up and put together a pizza for the kids–more yumminess for me, short people (Mother of the Year again, ladies–back off)! I have every intention of eating the leftovers for both lunch and dinner today, and we are going to have this one soon. Like, maybe this weekend.

All that said: this is not a simple dice-and-dump. You need about 20 minutes of hands-on stove time before the slow cooker can work its magic. I’m not normally a fan of that, but this one is worth it. To make life easier, you can do the prep work the night before, put everything into the crock of your cooker, refrigerate it overnight, and just let the Crockpot do its work the next day. Or you can do what I did, and do the stovetop work in the morning and then let it slow cook during work time, and then pop it on warm at the end of the day until dinnertime. But do not skip the stove step. You’ll miss out on a world of flavor and you’ll mess with the texture of the meat, which would be very sad.

This calls for wine. I’ll tell you a secret: I used cooking wine.


Know what? Slow cooking makes simple flavors very complex. So using a non-alcoholic cooking wine from the grocery store is perfectly fine when you’re cooking in a Crockpot. Go ahead this time. You won’t be able to tell the difference. Of course, you can use the good stuff if you want, but I am cheap and I value my wine in a glass, and chose not to this time. Still the best thing ever out of my Crockpot. And I would have no problem giving it to my kids with the cooking wine in it (tho I’m not sharing this time). It’s also gluten-free as-is–no conversions for those with a GF lifestyle (also casien-free!).

DH ate this over rice and liked everything but the pearl onions (he’s wrong, by the way–those babies soak up all the yummy sauce and were like little balls of pure heaven in my dish, where all of his landed–more for me!!). I poured mine in a bowl almost like a stew and enjoyed it that way.

Take the few extra minutes and try this recipe. You will LOVE it. I promise. You need:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (my package had 3; I cut them in half to make 6 portions)



4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

8 oz mushrooms, sliced (I’m going to double this next time and use a full pound–they were goooood)

1 1/2 cup frozen pearl onions

1/2 regular onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup red wine

2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup chicken broth

Spray a large skillet with olive oil or cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, brown your bacon, stirring frequently. Once it’s crispy, remove it to a stack of paper towels, drain, wrap it up and put it in the refrigerator for later.

Salt and pepper both sides of your chicken (I use No-Salt and it works beautifully). Carefully lay it in the hot skillet/bacon drippings and cook about 5 minutes, until nice and brown on one side. Flip and brown the second side.

While the chicken is browning, coat your Crockpot with cooking spray, turn it on low, and stir the mushrooms and frozen pearl onions together in it.

When the chicken is brown on both sides, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the pan and lay it on top of the veggies in the Crockpot.

Pour the drippings out of your skillet and put it back on the stove, lowering the heat to medium. Saute your diced onions until they start to soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and keep it moving for a minute (so it doesn’t burn). Stir in the wine and tomato paste, using a whisk to incorporate the paste in fully. Stir in the bay leaf. Bring it to a boil and simmer about 3 minutes.

Pour red wine mixture over chicken and veggies in the crock, and then pour in the chicken broth. Cover–do not stir (trust me). Cook on low 8 hours. About 15 minutes before you want to eat, turn the Crockpot off and remove the lid and let it sit to thicken a bit. Plate it and sprinkle it with the bacon you cooked earlier.


I have a picture to add to this post later. As soon as I’m home from the mechanic with my car (long story) I’ll add it. Promise.

Last Week to Enter my Giveaway!

There’s a new button over there on the right (you’ll have to click through if you’re on email subscription, Kindle, or a blog reader–sorry!)? That’s for Playing With My Dinner’s brand-spanking new Facebook page, where our readers are already chatting, sharing ideas, and getting the inside scoop on the blog.

To celebrate its launch, I’m giving away a copy of Aviva Goldfarb’s newest cookbook, “SOS! The Six O’ Clock Scramble To The Rescue.” It’s all about making healthy, Earth-friendly meals your kids will love, and you’re going to love it.

One lucky reader will find a copy in his or her mailbox, and all you have to do to enter is “like” the blog over on Facebook before February 5. I’ll use a random number generator to pick our winner.

So c’mon over! Visit the page, hit that “like” button, and join in the conversation on the wall. See you there!!

One Response to “Mostly Crockpot Coq au Vin”

  1. Kendall Walker February 3, 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    Glad to see I’m not the only one with a crockpot obsession. I’m always trying to “convert” people telling them how fabulous they are. I usually get a “OMG, a cockpot” kind of look. I’ll be trying this recipe once I get past the fact I can’t just throw it in and turn it on 😉

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