Favorite Recipe: Julia Child's Chicken

Legendary chef Julia Child appeared on "Good Morning America" on May 11, 1995, with her Ragout of Chicken and Coq a Vin recipes. To print these recipes, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Print This Article" icon.

Ragout of Chicken and Onions in Red Wine

For 4 servings


 2 ½ 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

 ¼ 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 or more cups chicken stock

 Beurre manie for the sauce (1 ½ tbs. each flour softened butter blended to a paste)

 Fresh parsley sprigs or chopped parsley

Special Equipment Suggested:

A heavy-bottomed 12-inch frying pan or casserole 2 inches deep, and a cover for the pan (or an electric frying pan)


1.  Browning the chicken -- about 5 minutes. Dry the chicken parts thoroughly, and brown in hot butter and oil. Remove to a side dish, leaving the fat in the pan.

2.  Simmering the chicken. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper; return it to the pan. Add the browned onions, and the garlic, bay, thyme and tomato. Pour in the wine and enough stock barely to cover the ingredients. Bring to the simmer; cover, and simmer slowly 20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender when pressed.

3.  Finishing the chicken -- the sauce. Remove the chicken to a side dish, and spoon surface fat off the cooking juices. Pour the juices (and onions) into a saucepan and taste very carefully for strength and seasoning. Boil down rapidly if it needs strength, adding more of the seasonings if you think them necessary.

4.  Off heat, whisk the beurre manie to make a lightly-thickened sauce. Bring briefly to the simmer -- the sauce should be just thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. Wash out the casserole; return the chicken to it, basting with the sauce and onions.

Ahead-of-time note: If you are not serving shortly, set aside uncovered. Or, for later serving, refrigerate uncovered. Cover when chilled.

Serving: Before serving, reheat, basting the chicken with the sauce; simmer a few minutes to rewarm nicely but not to overcook. Decorate with parsley and serve.

Suggested accompaniments: Either arrange the chicken on a hot platter and decorate with small steamed potatoes and parsley, or mound it on a bed of rice or noodles. You could also serve a fresh green vegetable, or follow the chicken with a tossed green salad and cheese. A light young red wine is recommended here, presumably the same one you used in the dish itself.

Julia Child's Coq au Vin

Chicken in red wine with small braised onions, mushrooms, and lardons of pork. An elaboration on the far more elementary preceding ragout, coq au vin involves more hand work since you have lardons of bacon to prepare for the special flavor they give to the sauce. Then there is the traditional garnish of small braised onions and sautéed mushrooms. This combination makes a wonderfully satisfying dish, and a fine one for company.

For 4 servings


 ½ cup (4 ounces) lardons -- 1-by-¼-inch strips of blanched slab bacon or salt pork (see Special Note below)

 Ingredients for the Ragout of Chicken and Onions in Red Wine (preceding recipe), minus the sliced onions

 1/3 cup good brandy, optional

 12 to 16 small brown-braised white onions

 3 cups fresh mushrooms, trimmed, quartered and sautéed


1.  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.

2.  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.