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coq au vin

The Diner’s Dictionary

John Ayto

coq au vin 

A casserole of chicken pieces cooked in red wine. The French term, which began to be used in English in the 1930s, means literally ‘cockerel with wine’, but nowadays the dish is almost always made with a standard (female) chicken. It is no doubt an age-old method employed by French country cooks to send off a venerable rooster that had outlived any other usefulness, but it was not ‘discovered’ and entered into the pantheon of French haute cuisine until the early years of the twentieth century.