You probably know many ways to cook chicken, but do you know Julia Child’s way to cook chicken in white wine? In this post, the Serendipity Farmhouse Test Kitchen explores Julia’s master recipe Chicken Simmered in White Wine.
Hi! Now that Autumn has arrived, let’s see what Julia Child has to offer that suits the season.
For us at the SFH Test Kitchen, chicken immediately came to mind. When poached or simmered with vegetables, the aroma fills the kitchen with the promise of a warm meal. Better yet, when prepared in white wine or vermouth one can only feel a sense of Autumn cheer.
A grouping by techniques
My amazing kitchen staff and I are well versed in four primary cooking techniques. They are dry-heat cooking with fat, dry-heat cooking without fat, moist-heat cooking, and combination cooking.
Julia’s recipe is an excellent example of moist-heat cooking. That’s because, depending on which variation of her master recipe you use, you will be poaching or simmering.
Throughout her book The Way to Cook and DVD set, Julia emphasizes the logic of grouping items by cooking techniques or methods. In her words:
“The technique is what’s important here, and when you realize that a stew is a stew is a stew, and a roast is a roast whether it be beef, lamb, pork, or chicken, cooking begins to make sense.”
Combination of Techniques
Julia demonstrates how various techniques are combined within a recipe. She starts with a master or template recipe and then adds to it. In the case of chicken cooked in white wine, she adds aromatic vegetables. The vegetables are julienned. Item #115 in the Way to Cook DVD shows you how to do it.
Choice of White Wine
Although you can use almost any type of dry, white wine with this dish, you may want to take a tip from Julia. She recommends that you use a fine, dry French vermouth. This adds a noticeable accent to the overall flavor.
Vermouth is a fortified white wine. But don’t worry, the alcohol is cooked away during the 25 minutes when the chicken is simmering. – We found out years ago that Julia’s favorite vermouth was Noilly Prat. We always keep a bottle in reserve for Julia’s recipes.
So, let’s gather our mise en place and get to work. You can do it the way we do it, or you can try out any of the variations offered by Julia. Whichever you do, have fun and –
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If you would like to learn more about Julia’s way to cook chicken in wine, here are some resources that will help.
Chicken Poached in White Wine – In this video from “The French Chef” TV series, Julia demonstrates a technique for poaching chicken in white wine. This is a very basic version of the recipe. In the same video, Julia demonstrates how to modify the recipe for serving in a casserole.
In 2009, Knopf released The Way to Cook DVD. The accompanying booklet lists the recipe our Test Kitchen used in item#114. the booklet uses a slightly different name for the recipe – Chicken Poached in Wine with Aromatic Vegetables.
More resources are listed in the Wikipedia article – The Way to Cook.
The Way to Cook Chicken in White Wine
- A covered flameproof casserole, chicken fryer, or electric frying pan that will hold the chicken and vegetables comfortably
- 1½ cups each julienned carrots, celery, and onions. See item #115 in DVD booklet. We only used a cup of each vegetable.
- 2½ to 3 lbs. cut-up frying chicken
- Salt to taste
- ½ Tb tarragon
- 1½ cups dry white vermouth or white wine
- 2 cups more or less of chicken stock, canned or homemade
- 1 bay leaf
- Julienne 1½ cups each of carrot, celery, and onions. See item #115 in DVD booklet
- Mix julienned vegetables and strew one-third of them in the bottom of a heavy casserole.
- Place dark meat of chicken (legs and thighs) on top.
- Season with salt and tarragon.
- add another layer of vegetables. Then then add the white meat (breasts and wings).
- Season again, and top with remaining vegetables.
- Pour in wine and enough stock almost to cover chicken. Add the bay leaf.
- Bring just to the simmer and cover.
- Cook at a slow simmer 25 minutes, or until done.
- Serve as is, over steamed rice. We used wild rice.
See Chef Blondie’s video demonstrating this recipe: Here!