Red Wine and Chocolate Chicken

Matt Preston has gave the traditional French coq au vin a different touch by drawing inspiration from Italian- and Spanish-style sauces where red wine is sometimes enriched with a little bitter chocolate.


  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 x 5mm-thick slices speck, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 16 whole eschalots
  • 200g button mushrooms
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1.8kg whole chicken jointed into 8 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups (750ml) red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 oregano sprigs, plus extra to serve
  • 1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped, stalks reserved
  • 2 cups (500ml) chicken stock
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 20g dark (70%) chocolate, grated
  • Buttered steamed brown rice, to serve


Preheat oven to 180°C. Place half the butter and oil in a casserole over medium heat. Cook speck, celery and eschalots for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Remove from pan and set aside.

Return casserole to medium heat with remaining 25g butter and 1 tbs oil. Season chicken with salt and cook, in 2 batches, turning, for 6-8 minutes until golden. Remove from pan and set aside. Return all chicken to pan.

Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until browned. Add tomato paste and cook for a further 1 minute, then add wine, scraping the bottom of the pan. Tie together bay, oregano and reserved parsley stalks to make a bouquet garni and add to pan with stock and spices. Bring to the boil, then cover with a lid. Transfer to oven and cook for 50 minutes or until tender.

Strain chicken and vegetables and set aside, discarding cinnamon and bouquet garni. Return sauce to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened, then whisk in chocolate. Pour sauce over chicken and scatter with extra oregano. Serve with buttered brown rice.


Sourced:, 2020