The other night we re-watched the movie Julie and Julia, which we had seen before but were surprised at how much we enjoyed watching it again. I think when we watched it for the first time, we were still reacting to how much we disliked the Julie character in the book. We both found her to be self-centered, narcissistic and thoroughly unlikable (even though she was the author of the book.)
This time though, we were able to enjoy the movie and appreciate the story. It is amazing how well Meryl Streep captured the nuance of Julia’s personality, gestures and voice.
As a side note, we had an encounter with Julia Child in the early days after we had moved to Santa Barbara. We were in Jordano’s, a store that specialized in gourmet foods and cooking utensils. I spotted this rather tall woman, hunched over a shopping cart. I said to Laura, “Isn’t that Julia Child?” She looked and said it was. Laura wanted us to go over and talk to her, but I was too shy. That never stopped Laura. She marched over and started a conversation with Julia, which lasted over 10 minutes. She was also bold enough to ask for her autograph, which we still have and keep in a very special place.
Julia’s recipe for Coq au Vin is way complicated, so I offer this more simplified version for your approval:
Coq au Vin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds frying chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- 750 ml dry red wine (1 bottle)
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled, sliced
- 5 fresh thyme sprigs
- 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
- 2 small bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 8 ounces bacon, cut in 1″ pieces
- 1 pound mushrooms, halved
- 6 ounces pearl onion, blanched, 2 min.
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 sprig parsley, chopped
- Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add to pot in batches and brown well, turning occasionally, about 12 minutes per batch. Return all chicken to pot. Add wine, sliced onion, carrots, thyme, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring to boil. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through, turning once, about 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp and brown. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels. Add mushrooms and pearl onions to drippings in skillet, reduce heat to medium and saute’ until onions are tender, about 12 minutes.
- Using tongs, transfer chicken to large shallow bowl; tent with foil. Strain sauce into medium bowl. Spoon fat from top of sauce, reserving 1 tablespoon in small bowl. Mix flour into fat. Return sauce to same pot. Whisk in flour mixture. Boil until reduced to 2 cups, whisking often, about 8 minutes. Mix in mushrooms and onions. Spoon sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with bacon and parsley.