Chicken Fricasee

Chicken Fricasee is not only some made up dish that you’ve heard about in Bugs Bunny cartoons. It is a french classic that has been around forever!  And by forever, I mean that Abraham Lincoln’s favorite food was Chicken Fricasee and there are recipes circa 1300!  To fricasee is a method of cooking meat in which the meat is cut up, sautéed, and braised, and served with its sauce, traditionally a white sauce.  Mastering the Art of French Cooking describes it as “halfway between a saute and a stew” in that a saute has no liquid added, while a stew includes liquid from the beginning.  I decided to make this dish for dinner as a fun and frenchy way to make use of some of my vegetables that needed to be cooked – and it turned out amazing (naturally!).  I ended up using the leftovers as lunches to take to work; it was still awesome 3 days later!  Abe Lincoln sure knew his stuff!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
One 3-4 pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons
unsalted butter
12 cipollini onions, peeled and trimmed
4 shallots, peeled and trimmed
2 garlic heads, cloves separated but not peeled
3 sprigs
4 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
2 ounces bacon, cut into lardons
12 small cremini or oyster mushrooms, cleaned
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white wine

To begin, prep your ingredients.  Here is an awesome How-to video if you need instruction cutting the chicken into 8 pieces.  I decided to use only 6 pieces in my version (due to my pot size!).

Next, place a large heavy bottomed saucepan (with a cover) over medium high heat and add the olive oil.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper on all sides.  Cook the chicken until browned on all sides, for about 10 minutes.

When the chicken is golden brown, and cooked to be about 75% done, remove from the pan and set aside.

Lower the heat to medium, add 2 tablespoons butter, onions, shallots, garlic, and thyme.  Cook for 3 minutes.

Add the potatoes, carrots, and bacon and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the bacon begins to render its fat. Next, Cover the pan and cook another 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.

Next, add in the mushrooms, the partially cooked chicken, and season again with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook for 10 more minutes, until the vegetables and the chicken are both completely cooked through.  Remove the chicken and veggies from the pot, and set aside.

Now to finish the sauce, add the chicken stock and white wine to the sauce pan.  Scrape up all those particles of cooked chicken and vegetables and bring to a simmer.  When the sauce is reduced in half, add the final 2 tablespoons of butter.

Pour the sauce over the vegetables and chicken, and serve!


-Chef Hallie


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