Fricassée is described as a dish of poultry or veal, or even lamb. The meat is cut in pieces which are seared without coloration. They are then braised in a creamy liquid thickened with flour. Aromatic garnishes are small glazed onions and poached mushrooms.
I am making a fricassée with a chicken. One bird with white parts and dark parts, they cook differently, but when done right, they are both delicious. Still some like white parts and other like the dark parts, there is no need for white lovers and dark lovers to quarrel or boycott one another. *Cough* Oscars *Cough* The method presented here is faster than low temperature braising and uses one large pot. If more time is at hand, the chicken is gently braised in the cream and flour liaison for a long time, the dry chicken meat becomes rich, and the sauce very flavourful. The mushrooms are poached separately in stock, while the small onions are done on a pan with a bit of sugar and butter, and cooked under cover with a splash of steaming water. The elements are combined and presented at the last minute. The cooking liquid here is composed of white wine, vermouth, and chicken stock; and it is finished at the end. It is for four people, and at my table, everyone gets one piece of white and one piece of dark.
|Chicken fricassee, fricassée de volaille|
|– one large chicken in eight pieces
– 500 ml white wine
– 100 ml vermouth (Noilly Prat)
– 250 ml chicken stock plus water
– 250 ml heavy cream (or more)
– 1 onion
– 300 g white mushroom
– 3 cloves of garlic
– branch of rosemary
– 20 g butter
– 20 g flour
Ingredients for fricassée
Always prepare the ingredients first. The chicken is cut into eight pieces: the dark pieces – two thighs and two drumsticks, and the white pieces – the two breasts (with or without wing, your preference) cut in two. The carcass should be saved to make chicken stock. Sprinkle some salt on the flesh side. The chicken will be plunged in boiling liquid, so it is ideal to let them warm up to room temperature. I don’t know what is going on with chickens in North America, the one pictured here is supposed to be raised with no hormones and and no antibiotics, yet its breasts are gigantic, while the thighs are comparatively diminutive. The mushrooms are de-stemmed, peeled and sliced. The stems are trimmed and also sliced. The onion is sliced. The rest of the ingredients are measured. The measure of cream is a personal preference, more or less? It is up to the cook.
Chicken in 8 pieces, mushrooms and onions sliced
Pour into a large pot the onions, the mushrooms, the garlic, the thyme, the wine, the vermouth, the chicken stock, and some water. There should be enough volume so the chicken pieces are submerged.
Ingredients are boiled
Bring to a roiling boil. Plunge the pieces of chicken in them.
Chicken pieces are plunged in boiling liquid
Continue to cook in the boiling liquid for 12 minutes, and then remove the white pieces placing them under a foil. Continue to cook the dark pieces for 13 minutes, and then place with the white pieces under the foil. Remove the thyme branch, and resume a roiling boil to reduce the liquid. Cream is bland, so the more one has measured the more the liquid must reduce. It can be reduced completely, and 500 ml of cream used, but fricassée is in general not coloured, so care must be taken not to start browning the onions and mushrooms. Meanwhile combine the soft butter and flour to form a paste. This is called beurre manié and a common way to finish a sauce by thickening it. When the liquid has reduced sufficiently, remove from heat and energetically whisk in the beurre manié so it incorporates well.
Cooking liquid is reduced quite a bit
Depending on how much the liquid was reduced, one gets a thick paste or a very thick sauce. Loosen the preparation by gradually adding the cream, always whisking. Return to the heat and let it boil gently a few minutes, still whisking. Taste the sauce, and add more salt if necessary.
The chicken pieces can be warmed up in the sauce if they have become cold. Either serve on the plates with a ladle of sauce, or transfer to a heavy iron cocotte for a familial meal around the table.
Serve with rice, or boiled potatoes, or steamed vegetables. For the wine, a medium bodied white wine is the better choice.
This is alright