(because that’s what my husband said.)
I still think “fricassée” sounds like a dance move. Simon insists it’s French slang for frisky. But never mind. As requested by my fabulous Instagram family, here is tonight’s recipe. I started reading Julia Child’s Fricassée de Poulet à L’Ancienne, intending to follow it to the letter…but didn’t. I can’t help myself – I always mix it up. Herewith…my version:
3 lbs chicken thighs and legs, skin on
1 handful of baby carrots
2 celery stalks
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
Coarsely chop the vegetables, and melt the butter in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over high heat until foamy. Sautee the vegetables until translucent, not browned. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 5 minutes, gently turning them constantly – don’t brown those either at this point. After that, turn the flame down to medium’ish, cover and leave for 10 minutes.
3 Tbsp flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Stir together the flour/salt/pepper, and uncover the chicken. Sprinkle coat it on all sides, rolling chicken around to make sure the coating is even. Recover the pot and leave another 5 minutes. Work fast during that 5 minutes on the following side project:
12 large (2 inch) or 18 small (1 inch) peeled pearl onions
Pinches of salt, pepper and thyme to taste
½ cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
In a separate skillet with lid, melt the butter, add the spices, and cook the onions for about a minute and a half, rolling them in the spiced butter mixture. Then add the chicken stock, get it bubbling, and cover. Simmer until you are ready to use these – see below.
Back to the chicken….
3 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup vermouth (not the sweet kind!!)
Pinch of parsley
Pinch of thyme
1 bay leaf
Add all of the above to the pot, and bring to a hard rolling boil – because really, is there any other kind? After it boils for a minute, turn down to a simmer, cover it and leave for 35-40 minutes – I like to set a timer for this since there are side projects happening. While the chicken is chickening, prepare the second side project:
½ pound sliced white mushrooms
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2/3 cup water
½ teaspoon salt
Boil the water/salt/juice, and then add the sliced mushrooms. Toss a few times to fully coat the mushroom slices, then turn down to a simmer until you are ready for them.
Have a glass of wine and relax for a few minutes until the timer sounds. Only one; you want to be sane enough to finish the meal!
Turn off heat, uncover the chicken pot and remove chicken and veggies with slotted spoon into a warmed bowl or platter. Skim the fat off the top of the remaining liquid, and pour in ½ cup heavy cream.
In a separate bowl beat 2 egg yolks with a whisk — separate the whites and save for another recipe. You do not need an expensive tool for this! I always do it with clean fingers – so much faster!
Dip out a generous half cup of sauce and very slowly stream it into the egg yolk, whisking all the time so you don’t cook the yolks. Once it has been fully incorporated, stir that mixture back into the sauce. Turn flame back on and bring to a rolling boil; let it boil off and reduce, skimming once or twice more. When it has reduced to about 2 cups worth, add the juices from the mushrooms, and the pearl onions as well if there’s any liquid left there. Stir both those juices into the sauce, and strain through a sieve. While the strainer is dripping, pick an attractive serving dish and get it ready – if you are using the same dutch oven, give it a quick cleaning and scrape out any dried bits on the bottom. Taste the strained sauce and correct the seasoning as you prefer – I added about a ½ teaspoon of salt, two grinds of black pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and two squirts of lemon juice, but feel free to mess around at this point if you are spice-confident. At this point, you can hold off as long as you need to until whatever side dishes you are prepping are ready.
When you are 5 minutes away from the table, grab your attractive serving dish and add the chicken with the original vegetables, then layer the pearl onions and mushrooms on top. Pour the sauce over the top, garnish with a few fresh sprigs of parsley and serve. Enjoy!