It’s winter time which is the perfect time for a good chicken stew. My mom had made a great fricassee recipe from a Louisiana cookbook but couldn’t remember which one it was. I searched online for a Julia Child recipe for Chicken Fricassee as I knew it would be good. I came across one from Martha Stewart that I thought would do the trick. I didn’t have all of the ingredients in stock so I made do with what I did have. The recipe featured below is what I ended up making and only a few herbs from Martha’s recipe (and any traditional fricassee recipe) were not included. For Martha’s exact recipe, click here. I’m sure the herbs I left out would add delicious complexity to the dish, but I didn’t miss them at all. I changed the recipe a bit to incorporate some time saving ingredients (pre-washed, sliced mushrooms; already cut chicken pieces).
Mom brought me her 1967 copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking along with celery stalks that I needed. The book was written by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck. In it I found “Fricassee de Poulet a L’Ancienne” and the recipe was very similar to the Martha Stewart one. Julia’s recipe provides a lot of helpful detail. I highly recommend this cookbook as it teaches a lot about technique. Once you master basic techniques you can cook almost anything!
Do check out Martha’s and Julia’s original recipes which include the herbs missing from my recipe – flat leaf parsley, thyme, tarragon and a bay leaf.
1 package breasts (2 to 3) with skin or skinless
1 package drumsticks (5 to 6)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 8 ounce package sliced white mushrooms
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Serves 4 to 6 people.
You can substitute thighs for the drumsticks. The combination of diced carrots, celery and onion is called “mirepoix” or “aromatics” and is used as a flavor base for many types of dishes such as stocks, stews, and even spaghetti sauce.
- Season chicken well on both sides with salt and pepper. Preheat a French oven (I love my Le Creuset) or other large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and the oil to pot. When butter melts add the chicken breasts, skin side down, in a single layer. Brown the chicken on both sides and then transfer to a plate. Repeat with the drumsticks. I try to brown the drumsticks on all sides.
- Reduce heat to medium and add mirepoix to pot, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Saute mirepoix until soft.
- Add mushrooms and cook until soft and they begin to release liquid. Stir in flour, and cook until flour is absorbed by vegetables and is no longer visible.
- Add the wine and bring to a boil, stirring until liquid just thickens, about 45 seconds. Stir in broth.
- Place chicken in the pot and be sure to pour in all of the juices from the plate. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover partially and cook about 25-30 minutes until chicken is done. Check the breast meat because it will cook faster than the dark meat. You will need to remove the breasts while the drumsticks finish cooking. I removed the breasts after about 12 minutes. I cooked the drumsticks until the meat was falling off the bone. Once cooked, transfer chicken to a clean plate. Simmer liquid, uncovered, until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes.
- To make the liaison (sauce thickener), whisk together egg yolks and cream in a medium bowl. You will need to temper the egg and cream mixture by slowly mixing in some of the cooking liquid. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the broth to the egg cream mixture one tablespoon at a time. Stir the liaison into pot.
- Squeeze in lemon and one tablespoon butter and stir. Return chicken to the pot. Bring to a simmer. It’s ready to serve.
This is a dish that is actually better the next day after all of the flavors have melded together. If reheating in the microwave, use 50% power so that the chicken does not turn rubbery.
I served my chicken fricassee over rice but it would be great over pasta, too. Pair it with a simple salad made with red leaf lettuce, sliced fresh mushrooms, and croutons. I love the New York brand Texas Toast Sea Salt & Pepper Croutons. I know, New York and Texas in the same sentence don’t make sense – but these are good! Whisk together a simple lemon vinaigrette (lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, smashed clove of garlic, dash of cayenne pepper, pinch of sugar). Put all ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake until emulsified. Taste and adjust seasonings and lemon and oil if necessary.
This is an easy, great one pot dish.