Attempting to Cook Like Julia Child

Feb 29, 2024 at 10:55 am by RMGadmin

Testing Julia Child’s Iconic Recipes

By Katie Murphy

As someone who enjoys cooking, I wanted to attempt to cook some of Julia Child’s iconic recipes from her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Since I saw the 2009 film “Julie and Julia,” starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, I have wanted to test the recipes myself. Maybe it’s the aspirational energy that comes with the first of the year, but I was excited to try some of these recipes out myself. Something to keep in mind: I am by no means a seasoned cook. I like to try out new recipes that look like something I can handle, but I usually prefer to stay in my cooking comfort zone. And boy, did these test me. If there's one tip I can give, I recommend following along  with her cooking videos on Not only are they educational, but her presence is a true delight. May we all live like Julia! 

Boeuf Bourguignon

Before I began flipping through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, I already knew I wanted to cook Julia Child’s infamous Boeuf Bourguignon. There’s a scene in “Julie & Julia” where Amy Adams cooks this dish, and fifteen years later, I’ve been dying to know what it tastes like. And it’s DELICIOUS! The only form of red meat I cook is ground beef, mostly because it’s difficult to mess that up. So, this recipe made me a little bit nervous. But the recipe was easy to follow, and it was a hit with my family!


1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces bacon, roughly chopped
3 pounds beef brisket, trimmed of fat (chuck steak or stewing beef) cut into 2-inch chunks
1 large carrot sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 large white onion, diced6 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons flour
12 small pearl onions (optional)
3 cups red wine2-3 cups beef stock (if using 2 cups of wine, use 3 cups beef stock)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 beef bullion cube, crushed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (divided)
2 bay leaves
1 pound fresh small white or brown mushrooms, quartered2 tablespoons butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-based pot. Sauté the bacon over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until crisp and browned. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large dish and set aside.
  2. Pat dry beef with paper towel; sear in batches in the hot oil/bacon fat until browned on all sides. Remove to the dish with the bacon.
  3. In the remaining oil/bacon fat, sauté the carrots and diced onions until softened, (about 3 minutes), then add 4 cloves minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Drain excess fat (leave about 1 tablespoon in the pan) and return the bacon and beef back into the pot; season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Sprinkle with flour, toss well and cook for 4-5 minutes to brown.
  4. Add the pearl onions, wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Then add the tomato paste, bullion and herbs. Bring to a simmer on the stove.
  5. Cover, transfer to lower part of the oven and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is fall apart tender (adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly).
  6. In the last 5 minutes of cooking time, prepare your mushrooms: Place a colander over a large pot (I do this in my clean kitchen sink). Remove the casserole from the oven and carefully empty its contents into the colander (you want to collect the sauce only). Discard the herbs
  7. Return the beef mixture back into the Dutch oven or pot. Add the mushrooms over the meat.
  8. Remove any fat from the sauce (if any) and simmer for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat that rises to the surface.
  9. You should be left with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon lightly.
  10. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock. If the sauce is too thin, boil it over medium heat for about ten minutes or until reduced to the right consistency.
  11. Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper, if desired. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
  12. If you are serving immediately, simmer the beef bourguignon for 2 to 3 minutes to heat through.
  13. Garnish with parsley and serve with mashed potatoes, rice or noodles

Le Marquis - Chocolate Sponge Cake

Next, I attempted to make a Chocolate Sponge Cake. I’m even less of a baker than I am a chef, and that showed during this dessert. Listen, this recipe made me appreciate boxed mix like never before. In the recipe, it says that you are supposed to be able to produce two cakes from the original cake, and, as you can see, that did not happen for me. Also, something went awry with the consistency and most likely other things, but it was edible! I am now more determined than ever to recreate this until I do Julia Child justice. Until then, I am excited to keep trying to try new recipes, and I encourage you to do the same!



3 1/2 oz of semisweet chocolate

2 tbsp freshly brewed coffee

3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

3 eggs, yolks and whites separated

1/2 c + 1 tbsp granulated white sugar, separated

pinch of salt

2/3 c cake flour, sifted



2/3 c powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp instant coffee powder

6 oz unsalted butter, 1 1/2 sticks, softened

2 tsp egg yolks OR 3-4 freshly brewed coffee


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 inch by 2 1/2 inch deep round cake pan (I definitely used the wrong size pan!) . Line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Begin by creating your cake batter. In a bowl set over a saucepan filled with simmering water, stir the semisweet chocolate with the freshly brewed coffee until they are combined and the chocolate has melted. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and set on the counter. Add the softened butter, a few pieces at a time, and stir until melted and incorporated in the chocolate. Let this chocolate mixture slightly cool.
  3. While the chocolate's cooling, place your egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually add the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in as you whisk. Continue whisking until the batter is thick and pale yellow. Fold the cooled chocolate into the yolk batter until combined; set aside.
  4. Place your egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add a pinch of salt, and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form. Add in the tablespoon of granulated sugar and continue whisking on high speed until stiff peaks form. When removing the whisk, the egg white's peak should stick straight out rather than softly curl.
  5. Now, in alternating batches, add the egg whites and cake flour to the batter. You can divide this into 3 or 4 batches, gently folding the whites and flour in so as to not deflate the whipped egg whites.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan, smoothing it out into the pan. Bake on the center rack of your oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top of your cake will most likely crack. Let the cake cool in its pan for about 5 minutes before running a sharp knife around the edges. Flip the cake out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Use a serrated knife to horizontally cut the cake in the middle to produce 2 cake layers.
  7. Create the frosting by simply beating the powdered sugar, instant coffee powder, unsalted butter (and egg yolks, if using) together until smooth and creamy. If you are using brewed coffee instead of yolks, add that in last, as needed, to loosen up your frosting and get it to a spreadable consistency (This is where things when REALLY wrong!)