Just because I have a Culinary degree doesn't mean I'm too fancy for my slow cooker. I actually have 4 of them, not counting my Instant Pot! A little round one for steel cut oats, a small casserole shaped one for dinner for 2, a medium slow cooker for dinners like this - about 4 big servings, and a large oval for 8 or more. And then, the big daddy - a Necco counter top roaster that I use as a mega slow cooker on the holidays! Anyway, here is a great dinner for a blustery evening, complete with veggies. Serve over egg noodles or with a hunk of bread. Or just a ladle for that luscious sauce!

  • 1 bottle red wine - preferably a French like Beaujolais Villages
  • 1 qt beef stock or 2 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon and 1 qt water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds bone in chicken - we like legs and thighs
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 carrots, cut in large chunks or batons
  • 2 bay leaves
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Optional - 3 tablespoons corn starch

  1. **I realize that even though I think it is pretty normal to have quarts of red wine sauce stashed in my freezer, most people don't, so we will start with cheaters sauce!
  2. Pour bottle of red wine to a 4 qt stock pan. Place on a medium fire and reduce to 1 cup. Add beef stock and sugar or the Better Than Bouillon, water and sugar. Continue to reduce down slightly to 3 cups then set aside. This can be done 2 days ahead.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a skillet over medium. Season the chicken and then sear in batches until skin is golden brown. Set chicken aside.
  4. Add remaining oil to the skillet, then cook the onions and mushrooms until they are softened. Add in the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the flour, mix well until incorporated and cook for another minute.
  5. Get out your slower cooker - use at least a 5 qt model, and put the carrots in the bottom. Then add the chicken and try to put in an even layer. Season heavily with salt and pepper - the slow cooker dulls the flavors quite a bit.
  6. Pour in the onion/mushroom/garlic mix and then the red wine sauce. Add the bay leaves. Cook on lower for 6 to 8 hours.
  7. Taste the sauce for seasoning. It may need a little more salt. At this point, I usually take the chicken out of the slow cooker and remove the skin from the thighs - it's kinda flabby after the long cook (just like me!) We like a thicker sauce, so I blend the starch with a touch of water and then mix into the sauce in the slow cooker. Crank it to high for 30 minutes to cook the starch and thicken.

Some quick pointers:

  1. Do you really need to saute all that stuff ahead? Well, no, but it will taste better! Some slow cookers have a saute function. Mine don't...I'm a base model kinda gal.
  2. I usually put this together the night before - yes, saute, layer, add the sauce and pop it in the fridge. Right before I leave for work I pop the crock into the slow cooker and turn it on.
  3. You can add some dry thyme if you have it on time.
  4. Where are the bacon lardons and pearl onions from a traditional Coq au Vin? Well, I don't like bacon or pearl onions! Go ahead and saute some bacon before the mushrooms if you want. Add some frozen pearl onions to the mix...it's your recipe once you start to cook...I'm just offering up my recipe.