Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, can be very intimidating even for the servantless American cook. I found this out when I flipped through all 684 pages while standing in Barnes and Noble. Silly me figured that if Julie Powell could complete the whole book then surely I could make a few recipes!
Meryl Streep as Julia Child in Julie & Julia by Sony Pictures in theaters now.
If you have read Julie Powell’s blog, The Julie/Julia Project, you know that she swears quite a lot as she plows through the project. I must admit that as I looked for even one recipe I felt that I could try I wanted to do the same. I had to put the book down for five days before I could even come back to it. I am a picture book girl when it comes to learning. Textbooks drive me bonkers. That said, here is my picture book version of Julia Child’s Broiled Chicken a.k.a. Chicken Broiled with Mustard, Herbs, and Bread Crumbs on page 265 in her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1.
Two ready-to-cook, 2 1/2-lb. broilers halved or quartered – Uh, let’s see, I have 5 chicken breasts
A saucepan containing 6 Tb melted butter and 2 Tb oil – Missed the mixing them together part but made do
A pastry brush – Yeah! I did something right
A broiling pan minus rack
Check. Julia’s first instruction was to dry chicken thoroughly, paint it with butter & oil and put the chicken skin side down.
Then lightly salt. I forgot to breathe, but I made it through step one.
Place oven on broil and put pan about 5-6 inches from broiling element.
While the chicken broiled for 10 minutes on side one, I went on to step two and placed 6 tablespoons of mustard of the strong Dijon type into a bowl – Okay, all I had was French’s but I wasn’t in the mood to go to the store again.
Add 3 Tb finely minced shallots or green onions – Don’t get too confident, Deanna, there is still plenty of time to screw this recipe up.
Thyme, basil, or tarragon – Pesto! Fresh basil, my favorite! I have lots of it too from my recent visit to Pike Place Market. Oh wait, I only get to use 1/2 tsp? Fine, I will throw in one teaspoon for good measure. I do love basil.
Time to turn the chicken over and broil ten minutes on the other side – What’s this? I was supposed to baste it every five minutes?? I can’t even make it through one recipe. How did Julie do this?
Back to the mustard sauce… 1/8 tsp pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper – Hmmm… I only have crushed red peppers. Better take a trip to google to see if some random stranger can tell me if this will work. A shout out to geistswoman who says, “They are the same but a different consistency” and eases my guilt. She is probably a six-year-old from Norway but I still feel better.
Oui la! According to geistswoman, we now have cayenne pepper!
After all of the ingredients were together, it was time to blend, adding half of the leftover butter & oil mixture a little at a time.
It is supposed to become a “mayonnaise-like cream.” My spell check doesn’t like the word “mayonnaise-like.” I’ll let you decide if you think that looks mayonnaise-like. I ponder my liking for the word “mayonnaise-like” but then again maybe I am just avoiding the next step of this arduous recipe. My brain is becoming mayonnaise-like.
By the way, side two of the chicken has been done for a while now and has been patiently waiting for me.
Step three: 4 cups fresh, white crumbs from homemade-type of bread (make the crumbs in an electric blender, 3 or four slices of bread at a time) – Sure, I don’t live anywhere near a bakery in France and we use wheat bread. Croutons it is!
I’m such a rebel.
Going back to step two: Paint the chicken pieces with the mustard mixture – I do like to paint, especially with mayonnaise like mixtures!
Back to step three: Pour crumbs into (doesn’t she mean onto?) a big plate, then roll the chicken in the crumbs, patting them on so they will adhere – “…patting them on?” Oops, I forgot to do that part. That explains a lot.
Step four: Arrange chicken pieces skin-side down on the rack (Oh now we are using the rack? Dang, another mistake) in the broiling pan and dribble half the remaining basting fat (Must we say fat? Why not butter?) over them. Brown slowly for 10 minutes.
Then turn and baste with the last half of the fat and brown 10 minutes more on the other side – Really? This chicken has been in and out of the oven more times than my kids are in and out of the house on a hot summer day.
The chicken is done when the thickest part of the drumstick is tender, and, when the meat is pricked with a fork, the juices run clear yellow – Where is my new meat thermometer? I don’t think I care to see clear yellow juices coming out of my dinner. Yep, 180 degrees and no clear yellow juices. I like that.
Step five: Transfer to a hot platter and serve – How about a cold plastic plate from Target?
I was too tired to make any side dishes. This is exactly what my family had for dinner. The chicken was delicious and moist and I am completely smitten yet frustrated with Julia Child. At the same time, I am incredibly impressed with Julie Powell and her blog… even without pictures! If my family is lucky, I may try a dessert next week… er, next year.
Now let’s have some fun!
It is only fitting for a giveaway to reward you for enduring my Broiled Chicken fiasco. Enter to win a copy of Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1 – Yes, just one copy to give away to one lucky winner. I am just a new baby blog after all.
Although the thought of giving away my own personal copy is tempting, this is not my copy. This is a brand new book just for the winner!
- Just leave a comment on this post.
- If you win, I will be sending you Julia Child’s hardback cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1
- Leave your comment with a way for me to contact you if you win (either a blog link or email)
- Deadline to enter is August 25, 2009 (recorded by the time stamp of your comment).
- The winner will be announced sometime on August 26th on this post.
* One winner will be chosen using the Random.org integer generator.
And the winner of the Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook is:
Congratulations, Danielle, and may the force be with you!
Are you a gluten for punishment? Then check out these Julia Child’s recipe blog posts too: