Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Chicken Fricassee

Happy New Year Everyone!

I was recently invited to a friends for dinner who just so happens to be a French Trained Chef. I was so excited because I knew the dinner was going to be fabulous and I couldn't wait to find out what we were having. To my surprise, he serviced us chicken. Nothing I would think of serving company unless I was having a barbecue. Well, this chicken was so delicious, juicy, tender, and flavorful. I told him that I would have chicken every night if it came out like this. 
He told me the key is to get a fresh, natural whole chicken, like a Bell and Evans, and cut it up yourself. The chicken that you buy cut up in the grocery store has typically been sitting for a long time and has lost it's flavor. I followed the advice my friend gave to me and went to the specialty butcher and found the chicken. Inspired by that great dinner I had, I wanted to share this delicious recipe with you for a classic chicken Fricassee matched perfectly with silky wide egg noodles. The fresh tarragon gives the chicken special French flavor and the chicken comes out juicy and tender when cooked this way.

Whole Bell & Evans Chicken.

Cut the chicken into 10 or 12 pieces, cut each breast in half. I left the wings whole but will cut them next time.  Discard the back bone and wing tip or use them to make stock. 

Brown the chicken in batches. Delicious all ready!

Set aside while you prepare the vegetables and sauce. 

Cut everything into 1/4 size pieces. 

Cut the crimini mushrooms into quarters so that they retain their size and don't shrink away. 

Saute until soft and than add the flour. 

Add the wine and broth. Place the chicken back in the pot.

Please don't leave out the fresh tarragon! Secret ingredient!

Add egg mixture and remaining ingredients.

Chicken Fricasee or Chicken Stew, call it what you like. Delicious comfort food!

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 10 pieces (discard back and wing tips or use for stock)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 2 Tbls flour
  • ⅔ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 package of wide egg noodles

1. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. In a large pot, over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil to the pot. When the butter melts and the pan is hot, add half the chicken, skin side down, in a single layer; do not crowd pot. (If butter begins to blacken, lower the heat.) Fry chicken, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total, and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add onions, carrots and celery to the pot, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Sauté and stir occasionally, until soft and golden brown in places for about 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms darken, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook until flour is absorbed by vegetables and is no longer visible, about 1 minute.
4. Add wine to the pot, bring to a boil, stirring until liquid just thickens, about 1 minute. Add broth, and stir.

5. Place chicken and accumulated juices, skin side up, in a single layer on vegetables. Add parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs and bay leaf . Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover partially and cook for 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Simmer liquid, uncovered, until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Discard herbs.

6. Whisk together egg yolks and cream in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, pour ½ cup cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, into egg mixture to temper it. Than add to the pot and stir. 
7. Return chicken to the pot. Add tarragon, lemon juice, and the remaining butter. Bring to a simmer, stir gently to combine, and serve over wide egg noodles.

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