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If You’re Afraid of Butter, Use Cream…

The above is one of my favorite quotes from Julia Child, one of the gutsiest broads to ever hoist a meat cleaver. (and I use that term lovingly)


On August 15th of this year, Julia would have turned 100 years old and I’d like to think would still be cooking.
In the 100 days leading up to Julia’s birthday, the JC100 is celebrating this culinary powerhouse and her recipes.  Each week, a new recipe is featured and this weeks offering was Coq au Vin…  one of my all time favorites.

I remember watching Julia & Jacques and loved her candor and fearless approach to cooking.  She made it seem fun and most importantly, possible.  She had a way of walking her audience through a recipe that made complex dishes seem effortless and isn’t that all we really want? To feel like anything is possible?

Her sing-song voice demonstrated her unmistakable excitement for what she was doing, especially when butter was involved.  She made no apologies for anything, especially her occasional mishaps in the kitchen.   For example, you dropped the chicken?  No big deal, pick it up & rinse it off!   I loved that.  It was like being told, it’s ok if it all doesn’t go perfectly as planned…  just keep cooking.

Her contributions to cooking and bringing knowledge of French cooking to the American public are unparalleled.  She was truly one of a kind. 

This is my all time favorite quote and precisely why I can relate to her… 

The best way to execute French cooking is to get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken. Bon appétit. ”
― Julia Child

Coq au Vin

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds frying-chicken parts (roughly 1 whole chicken, cut up)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups sliced onion
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 – 2 large cloves of garlic, pureed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/3 cup canned Italian plum tomatoes
  • 3 cups young red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • beurre manie for the sauce: (1 1/2 tbsp each flour and softened butter blended to a paste)
  • chopped parsley
  • 3 cups fresh mushrooms, trimmed, quartered and sauteed
  • 1/2 cup bacon, cut into 1/4 inch strips (original recipe calls for bacon to be blanched, however I like the saltiness of the bacon so I omitted this step)
  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan, saute the bacon and remove to a side dish, leaving the fat in the pan.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Brown the chicken in the pork fat, adding a little olive oil if necessary.  Remove and set aside.
  4. Add the onions into the pan and saute over moderate heat until fairly tender, then raise the heat slightly to brown lightly.  Drain to remove excess fat.
  5. Return chicken to the pan with the onions, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, tomato and mushrooms.
  6. Pour in the wine and enough stock to barely cover and simmer slowly for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove chicken from pan and spoon surface fat off the cooking juices.   
  8. Taste the mushroom/onion cooking juices, boil down if it needs strength, adding seasoning if necessary.  Off heat, whisk in beurre manie to make a lightly thickened sauce.  Bring briefly to a simmer- the sauce should be just thick enough to lightly coat a spoon.
  9. Return chicken to pan, basting with sauce, onions and mushrooms.

* I always serve this over lightly buttered egg noodles, it goes perfectly with the sauce.  You could also serve it with rice or to avoid starch completely, serve with a green salad.

Excerpted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child. Copyright © 1989 by Julia Child. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.


  1. That’s one of my favourite Julia quotes too! I wish I could have sat next to her at a dinner party.

    Beautiful job with this week’s recipe!

    Laura @ An Uneducated Palate

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