“I could write a blog. I have thoughts.” –Julie Powell from the movie Julie & Julia (2009)
Have you seen the charming 2009 movie Julie & Julia?
Well I have, several times, and it has inspired me on more than one level.
Based on two true stories, the movie follows two characters. The first (played by Meryl Streep) is the famous Julia Child, the woman who brought French cooking to America in the 1960s. Set primarily in Paris, the film documents Julia’s pursuit to learn French cooking. Julia discovers a passion for cooking in her life as she battles language barriers and many doubters in a man’s world as she hones her craft. Julia goes on to co-author her masterpiece “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” the brilliant and timeless cookbook that would later bring French cooking to America.
Now fast forward to modern day New York where Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams) is an aspiring writer and avid cook. Julie decided to challenge herself as she attempts to create and complete all 500+ recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook in a single year, all the while blogging about her journey. Julie captures and blogs about her successes, meltdowns and the personal connection she feels with Julia Child as she completes this daunting task. (This very very daunting task.)
A movie about French cooking? And blogging about French cooking? And the obvious fact we all have the same/similar first names? It’s like it was made just for me!
I, the other Julie, French cuisine lover and food-blogger, can’t help but be inspired by Julie and Julia as I look up to the accomplishments of these two women.
I have enjoyed cooking French cuisine from time to time, so I thought it would be fun to do a little French cooking to share with you! So get ready – I am embarking on a series dedicated to Julia Child, Julie Powell and a love for French cuisine.
Watching the movie, you can’t help but salivate at all the wonderful French dishes that these two ladies create. All the dishes I will be doing for this series are either featured, discussed or mentioned in the movie.
So let’s get started with part 1 – the French classic Coq au Vin
Coq au Vin
Coq au vin combines chicken with all the good things in the world. And all the good things in the world happen to be wine, butter and bacon. Kudos to the French for recognizing these three wonderful ingredients and using them to their full potential in their cuisine. Yes, of course there are other ingredients in this dish (mushrooms, carrots, thyme etc.) but let’s face it, there are really only three that matter.
One thing I love about this dish is the simplicity. I have been making this dish for a while now, and the prep is quick, and the dish is nice and easy. The recipe I typically use is not Julia Child’s recipe. The one I use is a quicker and simpler version. I like it as it is less fussy when I want dinner on the table – I can be practical that way. But if you’re feeling ambitious you can easily find her version online of course!
- Serve with roasted or mashed potatoes
- Try substituting the dried thyme with herbs du province. The lavender in the herbs du provance blend is a lovely touch
- I would suggest enjoying a glass of red wine from the bottle you just opened for the recipe – a nice way to enjoy yourself while your coq au vin is simmering!
Herb/Spice of the week:
HERBS DU PROVANCE
A French herb blend that changes depending on who makes it. I find it is a great substitute for thyme for many recipes. The key for me is the lavender in the blend. This powerful herb only needs to be added in very tiny amounts to taste its unique and exciting flavour. Try roasted your potatoes in herbs du province.
So this is only the beginning! Get ready to tickle your taste buds with the help of Julie, Julie & Julia, as I take you on a French cooking adventure!
(as Julia Child would say) Bon appetit!
Click here to view printable Word version of recipe:
Coq au Vin
Coq au Vin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
8-12 boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 slices of bacon, cut into pieces
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
1 tsp dried thyme/herbs du province
1 bay leaf
1 and 3/4 cup chicken stock
1 cup red wine
10 mushrooms quartered
1-2 tbsp tomato paste
Parsley for garnish
1. In Dutch oven, brown chicken in oil and butter. Remove and put aside.
2. Saute bacon until crisp. Add onions, garlic, carrots, salt, pepper, thyme/herbs du provance and bay leaf.
3. Add chicken. Add chicken stock and wine. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes..
4. While dish is simmering, saute mushrooms in butter.
5. After timer is done, add mushrooms, and tomato paste. Simmer 15-20 minutes more.
6. Garnish with parsley.
Serve with roasted or mashed potatoes