Holiday cooking with La Onda’s chef Victor Villarreal

Serve a Latin twist on the French classic coq au vin this holiday season.


A photo you can smell.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Tis the season for roast turkey and cornbread stuffing. But maybe you’re in the mood for something a little different this year. Enter: Chef Victor Villarreal, the creative force behind La Onda on Race Street, with his mouthwatering recipe for coq au vin.

The dish emphasizes French and Latin flavors with Mexican-style chorizo, Mezcal, allspice, and Pinot Noir. Here’s everything you need to get started + some helpful tips from the chef.


Taste chef Victor’s fish of the week specials at La Onda.

Photo provided by @chefvictorvillarreallaonda

Coq a vin

Makes enough for the whole fam


  • 6 oz Mexican-style chorizo
  • 3-4 lbs chicken thighs
  • 2 oz Mezcal reposado
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 20 red pearl onions
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups Pinot Noir
  • 2 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 lb diced calabacita squash
  • Micro cilantro for garnish


  1. On the stovetop, add chorizo to a heavy bottom pot, break chorizo into fine pieces, and brown. Take the chorizo out and leave the remaining oil.
  2. Heat the chorizo drippings over medium-low heat. Add the chicken, being careful not to crowd the pieces. (You may need to work in batches.) Cook the chicken, turning frequently, until nicely browned on all sides. (If working in batches, return all the chicken to the pot.)
  3. Carefully pour the Mezcal into the pot and wait until it becomes bubbling hot. If desired — and if you’re brave — ignite the sauce with a match. Let it flame for a minute, gently tilting the pot by its handle and swirling the sauce to burn off the alcohol. To extinguish the flames, simply cover the pan with a lid.
  4. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the bay leaf and thyme to the pan and then nestle the onions around the chicken. Cover the pot and let the chicken simmer for 10 minutes, turning the pieces once.
  5. Uncover the pot, sprinkle the flour over everything, and turn the chicken and onions so the flour is absorbed by the sauce. Cover and cook, turning once or twice, for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and gradually swirl in the wine and enough stock to almost cover the chicken. Add the garlic and tomato paste, cover, and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Test the chicken for doneness (there should be no trace of pink and the juices should run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife). Grab some tongs and transfer the chicken pieces to the plate. Continue to cook the rest of the chicken a few minutes longer.
  8. If the onions are not quite tender, continue cooking them in the sauce, then return the chicken to the pot. Add the calabacita and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  9. The sauce should be just thick enough to lightly coat the chicken and vegetables. (If the sauce seems too thin, bring it to a boil and cook until the sauce is reduced to the desired consistency. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with spoonfuls of stock.) Taste the sauce and add more seasoning to your taste.
  10. Garnish with chorizo and micro cilantro if desired and serve immediately. Or let it cool, cover, and refrigerate overnight. To reheat, skim any fat that has congealed on the surface of the stew and place the pot of coq au vin over medium-low heat. Garnish with thyme sprigs before serving, if desired.

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