Correction: One ingredient was omitted from the original version of this recipe. It has been updated to reflect the addition of several drops of lemon juice at the end. Corrections policy.
I love making a dish that sounds complicated but really isn’t. Chicken fricassee is a perfect example, because it has a fancy name even though there’s nothing fancy about the method or the ingredients. It is pretty darn delicious, however.
If you do much cooking, chances are you’ve made something like a fricassee even if you didn’t know that’s what you were doing. A fricassee is essentially a stew made by sauteeing meat in butter or oil, then adding stock and simmering the meat and accompanying vegetables until they are tender. It is often finished by stirring a little cream into the sauce.
I followed a recipe from “Joy of Cooking” last night to make chicken fricassee. The book didn’t offer any history or definition of a fricassee, so I didn’t realize until later that the meat in a fricassee isn’t supposed to be browned first. That’s odd, because the “Joy of Cooking” recipe called for melting butter in a pan and cooking chicken pieces until they are “lightly golden” before proceeding with the recipe. I can’t see the harm in browning the meat a little bit anyway.
I served my fricassee over herbed mashed potatoes with some cooked greens on the side. The only change I would make to the recipe I used would be in the handling of the diced celery and carrots. The recipe called for adding those along with the stock, but next time I’ll saute them with the onions in the butter, because I thought they were still a bit hard when the chicken was done. Oh, and that recipe called for 4 1/2 pounds of chicken, which I think is a ton. I had 8 chicken thighs (2.5 lbs.) and that seemed like plenty.
Do you ever make a fricassee? If so, how does it differ from this version?
Adapted from “Joy of Cooking.”
1/2 stick butter
2 to 3 lbs. chicken parts
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 large celery stalks, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
1/3 cup flour
1 3/4 cups chicken stock
8 oz. sliced mushrooms
2 tsp. thyme
1 to 2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. pepper, or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
Several drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Melt butter in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken (do not crowd pan; if necessary, you can brown chicken in batches) and saute until lightly golden on each side. Remove to a plate and set aside.
2. Add onions, celery and carrot to the pan and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes.
3. Whisk in flour and cook for one minute.
4. Whisk in chicken broth; bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
5. Add celery, carrot, mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper. Nestle chicken parts back in the pan. Reduce heat until it is barely bubbling; cover and cook 30 minutes, or until chicken is done and tender.
6. Whisk in cream and lemon juice. Serve with noodles, rice or potatoes.