From Ann Mah’s Instantly French! Cookbook:
While this old-fashioned country recipe traditionally uses an entire chicken—preferably a tough old bird—here I use chicken thighs, which braise beautifully in the pressure cooker. For the braising liquid, I like to use an inexpensive (don’t spend more than $10), medium-bodied red wine like a Beaujolais Villages. Buttered broad noodles are a traditional accompaniment.
Test Kitchen Notes
Every fall, I look forward to firing up my big and mighty cocotte with the promise of slow-braised goodness awaiting me at the end of the weekend. A tough piece of chuck slowly yielding to pot roast perfection, a mountain of short ribs getting coaxed to be the best versions of themselves after an hours-long interlude: These are the magical transformations that make cold-weather meals.
Yet the crisp fall air always seems to coincide with an uptick in tempo of life, in general. School starts, work picks up, the holidays loom (Thanksgiving is in less than a month y’all). All this to say, life gets busy! And so it’s no surprise that there are legions of Instant Pot fans among us.
Truth be told, I do not own an Instant Pot myself, but with diehard devotees around me singing the praises of under-30-minute beans (no pre-soaking!) and pho in an hour, I’ll admit I’m getting dangerously close to giving one a try. In the meantime, I have the good fortune of enjoying recipes through the magic of our test kitchen―and here’s a winner any Instant Pot owner should bookmark, stat. (And if you're on the fence and mulling over an Instant Pot purchase, this will be helpful for you, too.)
Ann Mah, an American author and food writer currently living in Paris (swoon), has written about her love for the Instant Pot on our site before. And now she’s taken that admiration headfirst in her new book, Instantly French!, the first French cookbook for the electric pressure cooker.
In it, you’ll find a multitude of classic French recipes, including the perennial favorite, coq au vin, or chicken in red wine sauce.
“Coq au vin, a French country classic, has its roots in the farm days of yore, when a tough old male bird―his purpose of breeding outlived―needed hours of stewing in to become palatable,” explains Ann. “These days, the recipe is usually made with a whole chicken or hen, and braised for hours. But with the magic of the electric pressure cooker, this traditionally slow-simmered dish becomes weeknight fare.”
Here are Ann’s tips for a knockout Instant Pot coq au vin:
Stick to the thighs: In her recipe, Ann cleverly turns to just chicken thighs, which saves both time and money. “Unlike white meat, which may turn stringy and dry when braised, thighs emerge from the pressure cooker beautifully succulent and fall-apart tender.”
Save your money: Ann recommends an inexpensive (read: $10-or-less territory), medium-bodied red wine like a Beaujolais Villages for the braising liquid.
Prevent sauce disappointment: To avoid a thin, watery sauce (a commonplace IP complaint because of the lack of liquid evaporation in the vessel), Ann shares two tips: “First, use a modest amount of liquid (here, one cup of wine). Second, after you've pressure-cooked the chicken, thicken the sauce with a beurre manié (or, ‘kneaded butter’) made of equal parts flour and butter. Beurre manié is extremely easy to make: Just use a fork to mash butter and flour together (to save time, you could even prepare a large quantity and store it in the freezer, divided into 2-tablespoon portions). When you need to thicken a sauce, simply throw a frozen lump into your boiling braising liquid and whisk away.”
Fall-apart tender dark meat in well under an hour, plus springy, eggy noodles to help sop up all the sauce? This may just be the Instant Pot purchasing excuse you’ve (I've) been waiting for.
Featured in: 41 Best Instant Pot Recipes for When You Want Slow-Cooked Flavor, Fast, 10 Instant Pot Chicken Recipes for Comforting Dinners All Week Long and 10 Quick & Easy Dinners the Whole Family Will Love. —Hana Asbrink
- Prep time 10 minutes
- Cook time 45 minutes
- Serves 4
to 2 olive or vegetable oil
or 4 slices bacon (about 3 ounces / 85 grams), cut crosswise into ½-inch (1.25 cm) lardons
bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 5 ounces (140 grams) each, trimmed of excess fat
(250 ml) red wine, such as Beaujolais Villages
garlic cloves, minced
fine salt and freshly ground black pepper
(45 grams) unsalted butter
(250 grams) button mushrooms, quartered if large
to ½ cup (60 to 120 ml) low-sodium chicken stock (optional)
Buttered broad noodles, for serving
- Using the Sauté function, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the pressure cooker. Add the bacon and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate. You should have about 3 tablespoons of rendered fat left in the pressure cooker—if necessary, add an additional 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Dry the chicken thighs thoroughly with paper towels and add them to the pressure cooker. (You may need to do this in batches.) Cook until golden on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Turn off the Sauté function.
- Add the wine and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf. Season lightly with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Return the bacon and the chicken thighs to the pot, along with any juices from the plate, arranging the chicken skin-side down to absorb more color from the wine. Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes.
- While the chicken cooks, in a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of the butter over medium-high heat until foamy. When the foam has started to subside, add the mushrooms and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- In a small bowl, mash the flour into the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 grams) butter until it forms a smooth paste (this is the beurre manié).
- When the chicken has finished cooking, manually release the steam. Transfer the chicken to a plate, leaving the liquid in the pot. Discard the bay leaf.
- Using the Sauté function, bring the cooking liquid to a simmer. With a wire whisk, beat in the beurre manié until the sauce becomes glossy and coats the back of a spoon. If the sauce becomes too thick, add the stock, starting with 1 tablespoon. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper as desired.
- Return the chicken, along with any juices from the plate, and mushrooms to the pressure cooker and heat them through in the sauce. Serve with buttered broad noodles.
- BEURRE MANIÉ: Sauces are one of the pressure cooker’s weak points, as liquid cannot evaporate and reduce while it is sealed. Flour or other starch added to the pressure cooker before sealing could burn on the bottom or clog the vent holes. Given these factors, the sauce of a dish braised in the pressure cooker is thin. It’s up to you, then, to thicken it. A classic beurre manié—or “kneaded butter”—is the perfect solution. Composed of equal parts flour and butter that have been mashed together, the paste is whisked into hot braising liquid at the end of the cooking time, turning the sauce thick and glossy, without lumps. Beurre manié is extremely easy to make—just use a fork to mash butter and flour together on a plate. But to save time, you can prepare a large quantity in the food processor. Divide it into 1-tablespoon portions and store them in the freezer. When you need to thicken a sauce, simply throw a frozen lump into your boiling braising liquid and whisk away.