Coq Au Vin

Today is National Coq Au Vin Day! For those who don't know Coq Au Vin is a traditional French dish of braised chicken in red wine, traditionally Burgundy. It's a dish Julia Child cooked frequently and helped increase the dish's exposure and popularity.

In honor of the late, great Julia Child I'm using her recipe to make Coq Au Vin for the family tonight.



  • 1/2 cup lardons (4 ounces -- 1-by-1/4-inch strips of blanched slab bacon or salt pork - see Special Note below)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds frying chicken parts
  • 2 tbs. butter
  • 1 tbs. olive oil (or good cooking oil)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 or 2 large cloves of garlic, pureed
  • 1 imported bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp or so thyme
  • 1 large ripe red unpeeled tomato, chopped, (or 1/3 cup canned Italian plum tomatoes)
  • 3 cups young red wine (Zinfandel, Macon or Chianti type)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or more)
  • Beurre manie, for the sauce (1 1/2 tbs. each flour softened butter blended to a paste)
  • Fresh parsley sprigs (or chopped parsley)
  • 1/3 cup good brandy (optional)
  • 12 to 16 small brown-braised white onions
  • 3 cups fresh mushrooms, trimmed, quartered and sautéed

Cooking Directions Browning and simmering the chicken. Before browning the chicken, sauté the blanched bacon or salt pork and remove to a side dish, leaving the fat in the pan. Brown the chicken in the pork fat, adding a little olive oil, if needed. Flame the chicken with the brandy, if you wish -- it does give its own special flavor, besides being fun to do. Then proceed to simmer the chicken in the wine, stock, tomatoes and seasoning as directed in the master recipe.

Finishing the dish. Strain, degrease, and finish the sauce, also as described. Strew the braised onions and sautéed mushrooms over the chicken, baste with the sauce, and simmer a few minutes, basting, to rewarm the chicken and to blend flavors. Special note: To blanch bacon or salt pork: When you use bacon or salt pork in cooking, you want to remove its salt as well as its smoky flavor, which would permeate the rest of the food. To do so, you blanch it -- meaning, you drop it into a saucepan of cold water to cover it by 2 to 3 inches, bring it to the boil, and simmer 5 to 8 minutes; the drain, refresh in cold water, and pat dry in paper towels.

Happy Birthday Julia Child - All American Brownie

In honor of what would've been Julia Child's 100th Birthday yesterday, I'm sharing with all of you one of her many classic recipes. Here are Julia Child's Best Ever Brownies courtesy of Shine from Yahoo. And you know if Julia says they're the best ever, they definitely are! 

"Master chef and teacher Julia Child, who would have been 100 Wednesday, is famous for complicated French dishes such as her six-page cassoulet recipe, but one of her favorite sweets was a straight-forward, all-American brownie. Developed for the cookbook Baking with Julia, these decadent confections have a deep chocolate flavor and cakey texture that firms up and gets chewy if refrigerated.

Bon appétit!"


1 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

8 ounces unsalted butter

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs, room temperature


1. Put a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 350 degrees.

2. Sift together the flour and salt; set aside.

3. Melt the butter and all of the chocolate together the in the microwave in a large bowl or gently over double boiler.

4. Add one cup of the sugar to the chocolate-butter mixture and stir for 30 seconds. Stir in the vanilla.

5. Mix the remaining sugar and the four eggs in an electric mixer bowl for a few seconds until just combined.

6. Little by little, pour half of the sugar-egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, stirring gently but constantly with a rubber spatula so that the eggs don't set from the heat.

7. Whip the remaining sugar and eggs in the electric mixer until they are thick, pale, and doubled in volume, about three minutes.

8. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped eggs into the chocolate mixture.

9. When the eggs are almost completely incorporated, gently fold in the dry ingredients.

10. Pour and scrape the batter into an un-buttered 9-inch square baking pan.

11. Bake the brownies for 22-26 minutes, they should rise a little and the top will look dark and dry.

12. Make a small cut in the the center of the brownies after about 22 minutes to check for doneness. They'll be perfect if they are just barely set and still gooey.

13. Remove from oven and cool in the pan on a rack before cutting.