I think of this as a provincial dish, so use a whole chicken (back parts included), loads of herbs, and large, careless cut bacon, mushrooms and onions. There is also bacon fat and butter. And a rough red too, of course (Peter).
Coq au Vin
1. Rough chop bacon and fry in large skillet or in your largest pan. Remove bacon bits with slotted spoon. Retain oil in pan.
2. Mix flour and 2 teaspoons salt and 2 teaspoons pepper in large plastic bag (to coat chicken).
3. Section chicken (here's a video if you haven't done it before: YouTube) and place 3 or 4 pieces at a time in flour bag - fully covering pieces.
4. Heat bacon oil and (if necessary) supplement with butter. Hot fry the floured chicken in batches - no need to fully cook, just golden brown the outsides.
5. Remove chicken and add chopped onions and fry for 3-4 mins, then add crushed garlic for another 2 mins or so.
6. Now add wine, chicken stock, herbs (not parsley), and brandy to the pan. Stir to dislodge the cooked-on bits from all that chicken and bacon frying.
7. Rough chop the potatoes; and skin pearl onions (or use the frozen ones).
8. Remove stems from mushrooms and chop about a third. Leave the rest entire.
9. In your main pot assemble the coq au vine in layers of onions, potatoes, entire mushrooms, carrots, bacon bits and fried chicken.
10. Ladle over sauce, check liquid levels then cook gently covered for 15-20 mins; then uncover and cook another 15-20 mins.
11. Add chopped mushrooms and cook another 5 mins. Thicken with 1-2 tablespoon cornflour dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons of water if the juice is thin (adding gradually). Check seasoning then add parsley and serve with rice or crusty bread.