French Family Dinner

My husband is half French and I am completely in love with anything and everything French, so French dinners are frequently in my cooking repertoire. Last night’s menu included Coq au Vin, an Apple Arugula Salad, and a Frangipane Galette.

Coq au Vin directly translates to “rooster in wine.” It is a typical French dish of chicken and vegetables braised in wine. It is simple yet filled with flavor.My grandma kept coming back for more and more sauce to poor over baguette slices. It reminded her of her poor childhood where gravy and bread was a typical dinner.

Coq au Vin (Adapted from Sur La Table)
* 10 oz thick cut bacon, chopped
* 4-5 lbs of chicken pieces (I used boneless skinless breast, but skin on & bone in & thigh/leg add more flavor)
* 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
* 4 large carrots, roughly chopped
* 2 large celery stalks, roughly chopped
* 1 large leek, roughly chopped
* 1 lb mushrooms (I used button)
* 1/4 cup tomato paste
* 1 head of garlic, cut in half
* 1/3 all purpose flour
* 1 bottle of red wine (I used a cheap Syrah. Save the expensive to drink with the meal!)
* 1 cup of chicken stock
* 1/3 cup white vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
* 2 tbsp unsalted butter
* 25 pearl onions (I bought mine peeled and frozen)
* 5 springs of fresh thyme
* 1 bay leaf
* 2 tsp of ground pepper

Cook bacon over medium high in a large Dutch Oven for 10 minutes until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate, reserving the fat in the Dutch Oven. My husband was already drooling over just the smell of bacon.

Season chicken with salt and pepper and sear on both sides for 4 minutes each per side until browned. Cook in batches for even browning. (Sear skin side down if using skin on chicken pieces.) It doesn’t need to cook through, it’ll finish in the oven later. You just want all that added flavor that comes from searing. Transfer chicken to a plate.


Preheat oven to 350° Add onions, carrots, and celery to Dutch Oven and cook for 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and leeks to vegetables and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Try to let all the veggies brown a little, so just stir occasionally.

Add tomato paste and halved garlic head and cook for 1 minute. Add flour and cook for 1 minute. Add wine and vinegar and scrape bottom of pot to pick up that delicious flavor from the bacon and chicken and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in butter and return bacon and chicken with juices that may have gathered to the pot and add pearl onions. Add enough chicken stock so that the chicken is covered. Add thyme sprigs, bay leaf and pepper.

Cover and place in oven for 1 hour. My Dutch Oven was full to the brim and oh so heavy! Quite honestly, I’m surprised I didn’t drop the whole entire dinner on the floor! My dog Doodle would have been happy though! If you don’t splatter it all over the floor, it serves 8. Serve with bread for dipping in the delicious velvety sauce.

Apple Arugula Salad
This is a clean salad with minimal ingredients to contrast the rich flavor of the Coq au Vin. I love this salad, it’s just so light and refreshing. It almost works as a palette cleaner in between bites of the hearty braised chicken, making it that much more luscious.

Apple Arugula Salad (Adapted from Sur La Table)
* 1/3 white vinegar
* 1 small shallot
* 1 tablespoon of honey
* 1 tsp of Dijon Mustard
* 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
* 5 oz Arugula
* 3 large Granny Smith Apples, cut into thin slices
* 1 lemon, juiced

Whisk vinegar, shallot, honey, and mustard in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in oil until emulsified. In a large salad bowl, add apple and coat with lemon juice to prevent browning. Add arugula to apples and lightly coat with vinaigrette and serve.

Frangipane Galette
This is a fantastic galette (french cake) from Williams-Sonoma. It is a buttery flaky puff pastry with a creamy almond paste. I topped the warm galette with homemade whipped cream and fresh raspberries.

My husband’s French grandparents brought this tablecloth to the U.S. 30 years ago as a thank you gift to their new American in laws.  It is from their hometown in the French countryside.  This detail was an added sentiment to an already enjoyable family dinner.


5 thoughts on “French Family Dinner

  1. Love the pictures Caitlin, and of course the food! I think Food Network is in Your future. I’ve been wanting to start a blog- will have to pick your brain someday. Have fun!

  2. As a French citizen, I can’t be more proud ! “Le coq au vin” is my favorite dish ! Great pics and atmosphere. I’ll definitely stick around to see more of your food adventures.


  3. What a beautiful table! There is nothing better than a great meal with a nice wine to bring people together! And your coq au vin looks absolutely delicious! I am also very happy that this tablecloth is being put to such a great use! Thank you for appreciating it, Caitlin.
    Veronique 🇫🇷

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