Katharine Hepburn’s famous brownie recipe is all over the internet, and my… they are scrumptious! But, here’s a recipe to throw together over the weekend, delicious, easy, and suitable for guests.

Miss Hepburn, glorious at any age – as to whether she really cooked… hm. All I can say is I know for a fact her cook in Hollywood was named Hazel Hicks and Spencer Tracy was a frequent visitor to the kitchen where he liked to sit at the table and gossip. I can say no more.

Katharine Hepburn

Hepburn’s recipe was first published in the cookbook, “Specialties de la Maison” in 1940 as part of a fundraiser for The American Friends of France, a voluntary organization that brought relief and medical attention to French victims of war. Also included were recipes from Brooke Astor,  Mrs. Igor Stravinsky, and Salvador Dali (who submitted the recipe of a weird seafood concoction with gelatin and mayonnaise, it is in a word – surreal, and not edible).

In 2009 Christine Schwartz Hartley stumbled across a copy of the book and recognizing it as a rare glimpse into another era she become the driving force behind it’s republication in 2010. “Specialities de la Maison” – simply charming!

Chicken Burgundy Style

2-3 lbs. chicken (cut into pieces), 1 medium carrot, 1/2 leek, 1 clove garlic, 1 cup heavy cream, Mushrooms, Chicken Stock, 2 medium-sized onions, 1 clove, 2 stalks celery, 4 sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf, 3 yolks of eggs, Juice of 1/2 lemon, Sour pickles, Flour, Butter

Roll chicken in flour and cook slowly in butter without browning for a few minutes. Moisten with just enough light chicken stock to cover meat. Add vegetables and seasoning. Cover the pot and let simmer until done (about 35 minutes). Remove vegetables. Take off fire and stir into the sauce yolks of egg mixed with cream and lemon juice. Place on fire again until it begins to boil. Thicken but do not let boil any longer. Serve with sauteed sliced mushrooms and fine small sour pickles sprinkled on top.

Katharine Hepburn, Hollywood, California

Okay, ducklings — I’ve made this several times. I do brown the chicken. I leave in the vegetables (and increase the quantities) and replace the cream with half and half. Also, I simmer the chicken in equal amounts stock and dry white wine. The mushrooms I saute in butter with fresh thyme or sage, and the pickles… gone, baby, gone. Of course, that’s beauty of any recipe, alter it to your own tastes and enjoy. 😉


  1. Vickie,
    Thanks for visiting our site and liking our posts. Don’t know if you’re located in L.A. or write about Hollywood from distant shores. Wherever you are, thanks! I’ve enjoyed your posts as well. I’ve written about Hollywood in some of my other incarnations (ghostwriter, biographer), so can appreciate your posts and photos. While doing research for one book, I learned about some newspaper articles Ronald Reagan wrote for the Des Moines Register when he came to Hollywood in 1937. The articles are well written, charming, and full of inside info about the life of a contract player in 1930s Hollywood. To get the articles, I hired a researcher in Iowa to go to the public library and make copies from microfilm. If you would like to see some of the stories, let me know.


  2. Dearest V
    I see you and Mr L are already planning secret lunchtime assignations – well not so secret one concedes.
    How wise you are to both brown the meat and leave out the ‘pickles’ (what are they) oh and to add a good draught of wine as I’m sure any true Burgundian would.
    More grist to The Dandy’s mealtime mill…. this could be ready in an hour or so…
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • I like to think that French wines are the only ones I can drink because they don’t give me a headache — and they have to be more than five years old. There’s no scientific backup for this theory, but it makes me very happy. I’m particularly fond of Chassagne Montrachet, but I’d leave that for me and not the chicken 😉

      • Dear V
        You must be European!
        We all labour under the misapprehension that white wine generally causes no hangover – no matter what the quantities – so Condrieu all round.
        Yours ever teetol
        The Perfumed Dandy

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