Pages Navigation Menu

Travel, Food, Music

National Coq Au Vin Day: Julia Child’s Recipe

Quote of the Day: “This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!” Julia Child, My Life In France.

Today we celebrate National Coq Au Vin Day. To talk about this food holiday leads us to discuss the background and influence of this dish – Julia Child

Although the dish Coq Au Vin can be traced to ancient Gaul and Julius Caesar, the recipe was not documented until the early 20th century; it is accepted that it existed as a rustic dish long before that. A somewhat similar recipe, poulet au vin blanc, appeared in an 1864 cookbook. Wikipedia

Julia Child featured Coq Au Vin in her breakthrough 1961 cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She frequently prepared it on the PBS Cooking Show The French Chef. This lead to the popularity of the dish in the United States and was considered one of Childs’ signature dishes.


After the World War II, Julia Child returned to America and was married. In 1948, Paul, her husband,  was reassigned to the U.S. Information Service and the couple moved to his new post in Paris.  It is here that Paul introduced her to his love of fine food and she was hooked.

Her first French culinary experiences were such an epiphany that she enrolled in the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in order to recreate those great dishes on her own.

Following her six-month training, Julia banded with fellow students, Simone Beck and Louisetta Berthalle to collaborate on a two-volume cookbook designed to teach sophisticated French cooking to mainstream Americans.

The original publisher rejected the manuscript due to its length.  The second publisher embraced the three-pound cookbook and published it in 1961 under the title “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”  Here is one of the recipes from this groundbreaking book that remained the best-selling cookbook for its first five years of publication.

This recipe is drawn from many sources but has heavy influence from Julia Child. Coq Au Vin is a classic French dish and a wonderfully easy recipe.

Coq Au Vin

Coq Au Vin

Julia Child’s Coq Au Vin


  • 1/2 lb bacon slices
  • 20 pearl onions, peeled, or 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 lbs chicken thighs and legs, excess fat trimmed, skin ON
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups red wine (pinot noir, burgundy, or Zinfandel)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Several fresh thyme sprigs
  • Several fresh parsley sprigs
  • 1/2 lb button mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


Blanch the bacon by adding it to a saucepan or deep skillet filled with enough water to cover the bacon, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Strain and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the bacon into small pieces (1 inch or so).

Brown the bacon for about ten minutes over medium heat in a dutch oven large enough to hold the chicken (or a large stock pot if you don’t have a dutch oven). Remove the bacon and set aside, but leave the bacon grease in the pan (yum, so healthy).

Add the chicken skin side down to the Dutch oven (or stock pot if that’s what you’re using). Add the onions. Brown the chicken on all sides; this should take about ten minutes. Add the garlic and salt about half way through the browning process.

Spoon off any excess fat. Add the chicken stock, wine, and herbs. Replace the bacon you removed earlier. Lower the heat down to a simmer and cook covered for about twenty minutes until the chicken is tasty and tender. Remove the chicken and onions and place them aside. Remove all of the herbs and garlic and throw them away.

Add mushrooms to the remaining liquid and return to a boil. You’re going to make a reduction sauce with this remaining liquid, so continue boiling until about 1/4 of the liquid remains. Lower to a simmer and stir in the butter. Replace the chicken and onions and mix well, thoroughly coating with the sauce. Garnish with parsley and serve with potatoes, or over egg noodles.  Serves six.


Roadtrips R Us, Travel & Food Blog, National Coq Au Vin DayWe invite you to follow our travel, entertainment, and food blog. We hope you enjoy this delicious recipe! CJ & TJ