On April 15, 1912 a culinary genius was born.
Julia Child brought French cuisine and cooking to the U.S. and changed the way Americans thought about it, and subsequently, approached it. Cheers to you Julia on what would have been your 100th birthday!
To honor Julia this week, below is one of her more famous French recipes.
Coq Au Vin
a.k.a. chicken in red wine with onions, mushrooms and bacon
3-4 oz. chunk lean bacon
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 1/2 - 3 lbs. frying chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp. salt, plus additional for seasoning
1/8 tsp. pepper, plus additional for seasoning
1/4 cup cognac
3 cups young, full-bodied red wine, such as Burgundy, Beaujolais, or Chianti
1-2 cups brown chicken stock, brown stock or canned beef bouillon
1/2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/4 tsp. thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
12-24 brown-braised onions (recipe follows)
1/2 lb. sauteed mushrooms (recipe follows)
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. softened butter
Fresh parsley leaves
1. Remove the rind and cut the bacon into 1/4-inch across and 1-inch long rectangles. Simmer for 10 minutes in 2 quarts of water. Rinse in cold water. Dry.
2. In a large heavy bottomed casserole or dutch oven, saute the bacon slowly in hot butter until it is very lightly browned. Remove to a side dish.
3. Dry the chicken thoroughly. Brown it in the fat in the casserole.
4. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Return the bacon to the casserole with the chicken. Cover and cook slowly for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once.
5. Uncover, and pour in the cognac. Averting your face, ignite the cognac with a lighted match. Shake the casserole back and forth for several seconds until the flame subsides.
6. Pour the wine into the casserole. Add just enough stock or bouillon to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and herbs. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer slowly for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and its juices run a clear yellow when the meat is pricked with a fork. Remove the chicken to a side dish.
7. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
8. Simmer the chicken cooking liquid in the casserole for 1-2 minutes, skimming off the fat. Then raise the heat and boil rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2 1/4 cups. Correct seasoning. Remove from heat, and discard bay leaf.
9. Blend the butter and flour together into a smooth paste. Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whip. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and simmer for 1-2 minutes. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
10. Arrange the chicken in a casserole, place the mushrooms and onions around it and baste with the sauce. Serve from the casserole, or arrange on a hot platter. Decorate with sprigs of parsley.
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tbsp. oil
18-24 peeled white onions, about 1-inch in diameter
1/2 cup brown stock, canned beef bouillon, dry red wine, red wine, or water
Salt and pepper
Medium herb bouquet: 4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf and 1/4 tsp. thyme tied in cheesecloth
1. When the butter and oil are bubbling in the skillet, add the onions and saute over moderate heat for 10 minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins.
2. Braise them as follows: pour in the stock, season to taste, and add the herb bouquet. Cover and simmer slowly for 15-20 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet. Serve them as they are.
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, washed, well-dried, left whole if small, sliced or quartered if large
1-2 tbsp. minced shallots or green onions
Salt and pepper
1. Place the skillet over high heat with the butter and oil. As soon as you see that the butter foam has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4-5 minutes. During their saute, the mushrooms will at first absorb the fat. In 2-3 minutes the fat will reappear on their surface, and the mushrooms will begin to brown. As soon as they have browned lightly, remove from the heat.
2. Toss the shallots or green onions, if using, with the mushrooms. Saute over moderate heat for 2 minutes. Sauteed mushrooms may be cooked in advance, set aside, then reheated when needed. Season to taste just before serving.