John has been under the weather tonight so instead of going out to see the Acorn drop with friends with decided to stay in and have a low-key night at home. This, of course, was my opportunity to cook something special for him for dinner in the hopes of making him feel a bit better!
I have recently (last Sunday for Christmas) acquired this beauty (above) from my mom- and dad- in law and I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this present from them and how excited I am to begin trying out some of these recipes! Tonight felt like the perfect occasion for Julia’s Fricassee De Poulet A L’aAncienne (Old-fashioned Chicken Fricasse).
As Julia explains it, a fricassee falls beautifully right in between a sauté and a stew. As such, the chicken must be browned in butter before it is stewed in wine to all its glory. I grew up eating chicken Fricassee which my grandmother would cook often, and have learned that the beauty of this dish is that while the basic recipe is always the same, the sauce can be varied to keep the boredom at bay.
I slightly modified Julia’s recipe to include a tomato-based sauce, one of my grandma’s favorites growing up, while holding back on the egg yolks and cream that the original recipe calls for. For side dishes I made sautéd brussels sprouts with red onions and cranberries as well as couscous prepared with butter, lemon and broccoli.
Chicken Fricassee (Fricassee De Poulet)
Modified from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking
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- 2 full chicken legs (drumsticks plus thighs, bone-in chicken)
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 2 cups baby carrots
- 2 cups sliced portobello mushrooms
- 1 medium red onion, sliced finely
- 1 Tbs plus 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoon flour
- 3 cups of chicken stock, low sodium
- 1 cup of dry white wine
- Small herb bouquet: (2 parsley springs, 2 mint or thyme sprigs, and 1 bay leaf – tied in a cheesecloth)
- 1 can Petite Diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 1 spring of fresh Italian parsley, for garnish
Heat a large, heavy-bottom pot over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the carrots, onions and mushrooms until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the pot and set aside.
Place the chicken in the pot skin side down. Once the chicken pieces are nicely browned, about 4-5 minutes, remove them from the pot and set aside.
In the now empty pot, add the remaining 2 tablespoon of butter. Pat the chicken dry and place in the pot skin side down. While the chicken is browning, coat with the paprika, flour and salt and pepper to taste on both sides. Brown the skin for about 3 minutes on each side.
Once browned, add the vegetables back to the pot along with the wine, chicken stock, diced tomatoes and herb bouquet, making sure the liquid covers the chicken, add more stock if necessary. Continue cooking for 5 minutes uncovered until the liquid begins to boil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to low-medium and cook for 20 minutes covered. After 20 minutes, uncover the pot and increase the heat to high, allowing the sauce to reduce and thicken for about 10 minutes. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
Serve the fricassee with steamed rice or mashed potatoes (I served it with couscous). Garnish with additional Italian parsley if desired.
1. While chicken breast is delicious, it is a drier meat which tends to harden when stewed. Please do not use chicken breasts for this recipe if your intent is to achieve complete goodness!