Coq au vin literally means rooster in wine, and came about as an inexpensive and simple way to feed an entire family in France during lean years. Coq au vin could be made with whatever (cheap) vegetables were on hand, and it was also a way to use up chickens who were past their prime by letting them slowly soften in wine. Wine has that effect on a lot of us.
Coqs are hard to come by in Canada, so chicken is a suitable and easier to source alternative. To make it slow cooker-friendly, choose boneless pieces and you won't need to fish out drumsticks from the rest of the stew.
1-2 parsley sprigs
Cut the bacon into pieces and begin frying over medium heat. While the bacon is cooking, slice the onion and shallots, peel the pearl onions, cutting off ends and slicing an X into the ends, and chop the garlic and carrots.
Once the bacon is slightly crispy, set it aside, and drain the drippings. Keep back 1 tablespoon for cooking.
Brown the chicken in the bacon drippings and butter. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Remove the chicken when slightly browned, scrape the caramelized pieces (leaving them in pan), and add the carrots, onion, shallots, pearl onions, and garlic. Cook until they begin to soften.
Add the flour (for thickening) and mushrooms and stir gently. Once the vegetables are mixed and have begun to soften slightly (approximately 5 minutes), remove from heat.
Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker and add chicken broth, wine, and layer with chicken, bacon, and top with the sprigs of herbs tied together with butcher twine.
Set at low for 6 hours. Serve with mashed potatoes and a green salad.
The chicken and mushrooms will take on the colour of the wine, but any alcohol cooks off. Safe eating for all ages!