A truly classic French chicken fricassee is so appetising and quite easy to make at home for a family meal or entertaining.
The meat is first seared and then slowly braised in liquid. Although it has cream in it, you can leave it out if you prefer. I like to enjoy it with the cream then cut down in other areas to have less fat. It is all about portions, just don't over indulge and you will be fine!
Fricassee is a method of cooking meat in which it is cut up, sautéed and braised, and served with its sauce, traditionally a white sauce.
Many cooking references describe fricassee simply as a French stew, usually with a white sauce. In ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ Julia Child and Simone Beck describe it as "halfway between a sauté and a stew" in that a sauté has no liquid added, while a stew includes liquid from the beginning. In a fricassée, cut-up meat is first sautéed (but not browned), then liquid is added and it is simmered to finish cooking.
There are recipes for fricassée as far back as the earliest version of the medieval French cookbook Le Viandier, circa 1300. In 1490, it is first referred to specifically as "friquassee".
Fricassee of chicken is commonly found, both in modern recipes and antique ones, but virtually all kinds of meat, poultry, fish, and even vegetables alone, can be found in fricassée dishes.
One 3lb chicken cut into portions ( about 6 - 8), or use chicken thighs (Allow 2 per person)
· 2 tbsps butter
· 2 tbsps olive oil
· 2 tbsps flour
· 150ml dry white wine
· 300ml chicken stock (but have extra to hand in case it is needed)
· 8 oz button mushrooms
· 16 small white onions
· Bouquet garni
· Salt and pepper to taste
· 1 tsp lemon juice
· 1 tsp sugar
· 4 tablespoons double cream
· 2 tablespoons chopped parsley to garnish
Heat the oil and half the butter in a flameproof
2. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.
3. Sprinkle with the flour, coating them all over.
4. Cook over a low heat for a few minutes.
5. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil.
6. Slowly add the chicken stock.
7. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmering point.
8. Add the bouquet garni and season to taste.
9. Simmer for about 45 minutes until chicken is tender and the juices run clear.
10. In a separate pan, heat the remaining butter and cook the mushrooms with the lemon juice until they are golden brown.
11. Put the mushrooms in a warm bowl and set aside.
12. Add the onions, water and sugar to the pan mix well and simmer until tender.
13. Pour the onions into the bowl with the mushrooms.
14. When your chicken fricassée is cooked, transfer to a warm serving dish and keep to one side.
15. Add any vegetable juices from the pan (too nice to throw away - gives a good flavour!) to the casserole dish and bring to the boil stirring frequently.
16. When the sauce is reduced, whisk the cream in and cook for about 2 minutes.
17. Finally, add the mushrooms and onions and cook for a further 2 minutes.
18. Taste it at this stage and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
19. Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve!