February 16, 2012

Inspired by Julie & Julia

One of my all-time favorite movies is Julie & Julia.  I think I’ve watched it fifty times already, and I know almost every single line by heart… I could even play in this movie by now.  Or maybe not… Anyway…  At first, I loved the film because of Meryl Streep who stars as Julia Child.  Then, the food prepared in the movie looks so appetizing that you just have to pick up the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking and start creating French delicacies with, what else, tons of butter.  Still, “is there anything better than butter?”  If there is, I haven’t found it yet.  After all, no butter, no fat, no happiness.  And then, it was the blog idea.  Even if, for some peculiar reason, I find it hard to admit, this movie planted the seed, which inspired me to start my own food blog! 

I loved the movie so much that Adrian bought me Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking for my 25th birthday.  Some women might feel offended to receive a cookbook on such an important milestone, but I was ecstatic!  I couldn’t wait to start cooking from it.  And the first recipe that I tried from this book was Chicken with Cream, Mushrooms and Port, which was also one of the first recipes that Julie Powell tried when she started her insane one year Julie/Julia project.  For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, Julie’s project was to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook, completing 524 recipes in 365 days while writing a blog about it.  A totally deranged assignment if you are to ask me, but kudos to Julie Powell.

This recipe was not only easy to make, but it was also “total bliss”.  You have butter, cream, a splash of port…yes…that’s pretty much all you need to make a “delicious beyond imagining” dish.  I’ve recently revisited this classic and it was just as I remembered – spectacular!     

Chicken with Cream, Mushrooms and Port
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

Serves: 4 servings


·         4 chicken breasts – flatten the chicken breasts with the side of a heavy knife
·         Lemon juice
·         Salt and black pepper
·         5 Tablespoons butter
·         1 Tablespoon minced shallot
·         ¼ pound sliced fresh mushrooms
·         ¼ cup chicken broth
·         ¼ cup port
·         1 cup heavy cream
·         2 Tablespoons fresh minced parsley


Rub the chicken with drops of lemon juice and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  In a large pan, heat the butter over medium heat until foaming.  Stir in the minced shallot and sauté a moment without browning.  Then stir in the mushrooms, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and sauté lightly for 2-3 minutes without browning.

Add the chicken and cook it in the mushrooms and butter for several minutes on each side.  When the meat is springy to the touch it is done.  Remove the meat when done, leaving the mushrooms in the pan.  Pour the chicken broth and port wine over the mushrooms and boil down quickly until liquid is syrupy.  Stir in the cream and boil down again until the cream has thickened slightly.  Taste carefully for seasoning, and add drops of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.  Put the chicken back into the pan with the sauce for about 2 more minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.    

You’re probably thinking, by now, that perhaps I’m a bit obsessed with Julie & Julia especially since I’ve used a myriad of quotes from this movie throughout the post.  But that’s OK.  I’ll talk more about my movie encyclopedia later on because the Oscars are fast approaching.  Until then, Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!) 

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