Julia’s Last Home & Coq au Vin

Chicken in Red Wine with Onions, Mushrooms, and Bacon
“In France it is usually accompanied only by parsley potatoes; buttered green peas could be included if you wish a green vegetable.” from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

In honor of Julia’s birthday, Father Adam and I made the meal as she recommends. Our potatoes are parsleyed and our peas are buttered and tossed with chopped fresh mint.

Montecito, California

Adjacent to the city of Santa Barbara, lies beautiful Montecito. A while back my mother and I had lunch at the charming Montecito Inn.

After lunch, we decided to drive up the road to visit the Casa Dorinda to see where Julia Child (August 15, 1912 – August 13, 2004) spent her last years.

This assisted living facility is a sprawling complex, the former estate of a wealthy nature lover. Julia occupied a cozy one bedroom apartment. She decorated her little kitchen walls with cookware and tools just like she had at her home in Cambridge.

In addition to cooking and camaraderie, another of Julia’s passions was golf. I like to imagine that it gave her pleasure to have this pretty little green at the Casa Dorinda. Perhaps she played here?
Back to the kitchen and her Coq au Vin recipe…

Bacon is simmered in water, then dried and sautéed in hot butter until lightly brown. A whole chicken, cut-up, is then browned in the fat. Cognac is added to the pan.

Another reason to love Julia’s cooking – many of her recipes include lighting them on fire! Tip the pan and ignite the cognac.

After the flames subside, add 3 cups of good red wine and enough beef stock to cover the chicken. Stir in tomato paste, mashed garlic, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. This is another one of those times where I wish you could smell the aromas…Cover and cook 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile make brown-braised pearl onions and sautéed mushrooms.

We thought Julia would be pleased that we sautéed French bread in clarified butter, in her honor, to make croutons for the coq au vin.

When the chicken is cooked, remove it to a platter then skim the fat from the sauce. Raise the heat and reduce the sauce. Beat beurre manié into the sauce to thicken, adjust seasoning. Add the chicken, bacon, onions and mushrooms back to the pot, heat through and serve.
The complete recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking can be found here. And oh my, the sauce was so flavorful, rich and velvety!
Julia Wisdom:
“The pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite – toujours bon appétit!
Happy Birthday and Thank You Julia Child!
(The month of August is Julia Child Month here at TaStE WiTh ThE EyEs. I am resurrecting some prior Julia related posts as well as cooking some new Julia inspired dishes. Coq au Vin originally posted on 8.08.08).

17 thoughts on “Julia’s Last Home & Coq au Vin”

  1. Your coq au vin looks great. I was recently in Montecito, but didn't visit where she lived. Brava to you for making the pilgrimage.

  2. Lovely. The only time I've seen coq au vin was on a episode of Good Eats.

    Julia Child is such an inspiration. I'm actually watching a on PBS right now about her.

  3. The food world has a big hole in it from her passing. Yet, she lives on each time we make one of her recipes. And this one is worth making again and again! Happy birthday Julia. Welcome home, LL.

  4. Ooh, that looks lovely. Never had coq au vin before, but also I don't think I'll be able to make it for a while, as seeing the prices on those bottles of cognac gives me the vapors, lol 🙂

  5. Love the picture of the onions, so yummy! This has made me hungrey! I am also giving you a great blog award…but I am not sure how to pass it along. So you may have to just go check it out on my blog…I am not so tech savy!

  6. I just saw the movie today. What a lovely tribute – I'm going to have to crack "Mastering the Art …" this autumn, and maybe even host a Julia party!

  7. I think there are so many shortcut ways to make this classic, but by doing it the real way(using fat, preparing the bacon etc) you capture so many underlying flavors…just beautiful, the whole post!!

  8. I love this delicious classic chicken dish. And I love Montecito as well. We go there countless time, and still do. The best part is that our son loves it too. We plan to retire in this neighborhood. That is why we still go there a lot and see open houses.

  9. I made this Julia Child recipe several times and it was always delicious. This afternoon, to celebrate her birthday belatedly, we are going to see the movie Julie and Julia.

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