Digest The News: Happy 100th Birthday, Julia Child!

Today Julia Child would have been 100 years old. We would like to thank this amazing woman for everything she has done for American culinary arts.

AUGUST 2012 — Julia Child was a great chef, but she was also hilarious — a true original. There are a lot of chefs we admire today, but Julia was the only who could flip a pancake, miss, have it flop onto the floor and say “Oops!” — then toss it back into the pan and carry on.

But Julia never set out to be a famous chef. As she herself once said, “I was 32 when I started cooking. Up until then, I just ate.” Wasn’t she delicious?

That was the magic of Julia Child — who would have turned 100 this week. From her straightforward recipes to her stove-side candor to the ease with which she floated around the kitchen, she could make even the most food-challenged among us feel like we were master chefs.  {Read more here.}

To celebrate the birth of this icon, I’m giving you the very first of her recipes I dared to make in my own kitchen.

Julia Child’s Coq au Vin

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds cut-up frying chicken, skin on and thoroughly dried (I used skinless boneless breasts and thighs instead)*
  • 4 ounces lean thick-cut bacon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup cognac
  • 2 cups red wine (Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Beaujolais or Chianti)
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed or minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • Brown-Braised Onions (see recipe below)
  • Mushrooms (see recipe below)
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • Parsley sprigs

Ready, Set, Cook:

Dry chicken thoroughly in a towel. Season chicken with salt and pepper; set aside.

Remove any rind off the bacon and cut the bacon into lardons (rectangles 1/4-inch across and 1-inch long). In a saucepan, simmer the bacon sticks in 2 quarts of water for 10 minutes; remove from heat, drain, rinse in cold water, and pat dry.

In a large heavy frying pan, casserole dish, or electric skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil until moderately hot. Add the bacon and saute slowly until they are lightly browned. Remove bacon to a side dish. Place chicken pieces into the hot oil (not crowding pan), and brown on all sides. Return bacon to the pan, cover pan, and cook slowly for 10 minutes, turning chicken once.

After browning the chicken, uncover pan, pour in the cognac. Flambé by igniting with a lighted match. Let flame a minute, swirling pan by its handle to burn off alcohol; extinguish with pan cover.

Pour the red wine into the pan and add just enough chicken broth to completely cover the chicken pieces. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then cover pan, and simmer slowly for about 30 minutes or until the chicken meat is tender when pierced with a fork or an instant-read meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the Brown-Braised Onions and the Mushrooms

When the chicken is done cooking, remove from the pan to a platter, leaving the cooking liquid in the pan. Increase heat to high and boil the cooking liquid rapidly until approximately 2 cups of liquid remains.

While the liquid is boiling, in a small bowl, blend the 3 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons softened butter into a smooth paste; beat the flour/butter mixture into the approximately 2 cups hot cooking liquid with a whisk. Simmer and stir for a minute or two until the sauce has thickened (the result will be a sauce thick enough to lightly coat a spoon – just thick enough to coat the chicken and vegetables lightly). If sauce is too thin, boil down rapidly to concentrate; if sauce is too thick, thin out with additional spoonfuls of chicken stock. Taste the final sauce, adding more salt and pepper if necessary.

BON APPETIT! 

Story: Huffington Post

Recipe: Mastering The Art of French Cooking

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