Here is my third assignment from JC100, celebrating what would have been Julia’s 100 coming up in August. This has been a favourite of mine but I haven’t made it in years!! Ken said I could do this with my eyes closed but he is giving me way too much credit. When you have to cook both the onions and the mushrooms separately and both to perfection along with flaming brandy, browning chicken and extracting the smokey flavour from the lardons you have got to have your eyes open. And open wide as each of these steps make you drool!!! Julia was a master at all these techniques and again if you follow her recipe you will have a gorgeous meal!! We sure did!!! It was fabulous!!
3-4 oz. of bacon, cut into lardons (1/4″ wide)
Simmer the bacon in 2 quarts of water for 10 min. This extracts the smokey flavour. Pat dry.
2 Tbsp. butter
Melt the butter in a large fry pan and on low cook the bacon until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon to a side dish.
2 1/2-3 lb. chicken
Cut up into manageable pieces. I cut the thighs and breast in half and added the backs for extra flavour. Dry the chicken very well. Brown in the hot fat.
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Season the chicken. Return the bacon to the pan, cover and cook for 10 min. turning the chicken once.
1/4 cup brandy or cognac
Uncover and pour in the cognac. Averting your face, ignite the cognac with a long lighter or match. Shake the fry pan back and forth for a few seconds until the flames subside.
3 cups red wine, such as Burgundy, Beaujolais, Cotes de Rhone or Chianti
1-2 cups beef stock
1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
Pour the wine into the fry pan saving about 1/4 cup to mix with the tomato paste. I found this easier to incorporate then. Stir in the garlic and herbs. Add just enough stock to almost cover the chicken. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer slowly for 25-30 min. or until chicken is tender and the juices run clear. Turn the chicken once while cooking. When finished remove to a side dish.
18-24 peeled white onions about 1 inch in diameter
1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup of the wine that you are using for the chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
A herb bouquet of 4 sprigs parsley, 1/2 bay leaf and a sprig of thyme tied up in cheesecloth
Meanwhile as the chicken is cooking you can make the mushrooms and onions. Heat the butter and oil in a 10″ skillet and saute the onions over medium low heat for about 10 min., rolling the onions about so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break the skin. Then pour in the wine and season to taste, and add the herb bouquet. Simmer covered for 40 min. until the onions are tender and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the herb bouquet.
1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
Salt and pepper
Again While the chicken and now the onions are cooking you can saute the mushrooms. No time for sitting back and sipping any wine yet!! Place a 10″ or larger skillet over high heat with the butter and the oil. As soon as you see the butter foam has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add the mushrooms. Toss and shake in the pan for 4-5 min. This method doesn’t have the mushroom exude any of their moister. Be sure not to crowd them. I used a larger skillet. During their saute the mushroom will first absorb the fat but in 2-3 min. the fat will reappear on the surface and the mushrooms will begin to brown. Toss in the shallots and saute over medium heat for 2 min. Set mushrooms aside.
Once the chicken is done skim off the fat and then raise the heat and boil rapidly to reduce to about 2 1/4 cups. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf.
3 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. softened butter
Blend the flour and butter together into a smooth paste and whisk this into the hot sauce. Arrange chicken, mushrooms and onions around. If the dish is not to be served yet pour a small amount of the stock over the chicken and sauce and then this can wait indefinitely. Julia says you don’t need to cover it but I did and then reheated later for dinner. Bring it back up to a simmer and baste the chicken simmering slowly for 4-5 min.
Small new potatoes
Boil the potatoes until done and place them on the outside of the platter. Fill the middle with the chicken mixture and garnish with the parsley. Serve with a fresh salad. This is so truly delicious. My family were very spoiled for a mid week meal.
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.