Coq au Vin at the Country House

The white bread slices that you fry and toast in butter and olive oil, sprinkle with salt, then dip in the wine sauce and coat with chopped parsley are integral to a strong finish even though I’m wiped out from the three days of prep. Hang in there, the final step is so worth the effort. I’ve been known to skip this step and always regret it.
Lexi did the flowers, and I made the food. Most of these iPhone pics were taken the day after, and Coq au Vin is not my favorite to photograph as it’s mostly brown, even though it tastes extraordinary.

It’s been a minute or a month, or it’s been the season. We’ve been doing our thing, and I thought I would pop back in here to share. Every fall, I like to host a Harvest-type dinner, and this year we hosted a small intimate dinner for eight at our dining room table. I like to use the barn, yet I just didn’t have it in me to cart all the gear to and fro, so the dining room table in the house was the ticket.

I planned the menu several days in advance, ran off recipes from the printer, inserted them into a small binder, and took that thing with me while shopping for supplies. The shopping list was inserted in the front sleeve of the binder for quick visibility and to protect me from leaving it somewhere, like a cart at the store. I make the rounds at several stores, always trying to get the best ingredients I can put my hands on, as that is where it all starts.

The Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts were made first.
Two crusts were made for the French Apple Tart and kept well in the fridge.
Roasted nuts in the background, vanilla beans on deck for the ice cream, and the chicken legs with thigh and 4 breasts ready to marinate in red wine for twenty- four hours or so. I take great care in hand trimming the meat of any extra fat or feathers, and then salt and pepper both sides before marinating.

The cooking starts a few days in advance, whether it’s a dinner for eight or twenty-eight. You can never do enough prep up front. I’ve learned over the years to build in my non-negotiables like a daily walk or a quiet cup of coffee first thing in the morning, even though I’m often at it all the way up until the guests arrive. I just haven’t figured out any other way than to go all in, yikes.

I did a day of prep at the city house and than moved the production out to the coutnry house kitchen. Here you see my small mess. It really does take an effort. Notice the beautiful carrots on the stainless steel worktop; I bought those at the farmer’s market that Saturday morning.
One of my market runaround outfits: black turtleneck, black cardigan, old jeans, sneakers.
Mise en place for Coq au Vin, wine is elsewhere
Salad with Warm Goat Cheese. I wanted to serve this after the entree yet did it first so that I didn’t have to stand in tke kitchen and fry the cheese between courses.
The French Apple Tart and scratch vanilla ice cream was served fireside after dinner. Here you see a small serving of a corner piece, the only part that was left!

Here is the menu I chose: Chipotle and Rosemary Roasted Nuts, Salad with Warm Goat Cheese, Coq au Vin, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, French Vanilla Tart, Vanilla Ice Cream. Everything came together nicely, and it was wonderful to serve family and friends like family a lovely meal. My serving of good food and my husband pouring great wine keep our kids coming back to join us at the table, even as they progress through their second and third decades and build their own lives. Shared meals keep us close.

I usually work all day in denim and an apron and change right before dinner is served. For this party I wore a long black taffeta skirt, favorite denim shirt, turquoise and silver necklace, and western boots.

Every day dress, Coq au Vin at the Country House.

Recommended Posts


  1. Looks amazing and so delicious! I love that you make every recipe detail from scratch. That alone with the prep is a feat in itself!

    • Thank you, Laura! Hope you and your beautiful family are all well. Love this time of year!

  2. Perfection that only you can carry off from the meal right down to the cowboy boots!

    • Thank you, Kathleen. Best wishes to your young friend as he tries his hand at Coq au Vin! I used Melissa Clark’s recipe from New York Times Cooking App.

Leave a Reply