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Chicken Fricassee (Fricassee De Poulet a L'Ancienne)

Also see our step-by-step photo tutorial for making Chicken Fricassee. A fricassee is halfway between a saute and a stew. A true classic -- with as many variations as there are grandmothers in France -- it relies on humble ingredients and just a single pot. It's the original French comfort food: simmered chicken with hearty vegetables in a rich, silky sauce. And almost as satisfying as the dish itself is having our one-pot master recipe in your repertoire.

  • prep: 35 mins
    total time: 1 hour 15 mins
  • servings: 4
Photography: Tara Donne

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Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 11 pieces (reserve back and wing tips for another use, such as 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 (1/3 cup)
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups 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

Cook's Note

Have your butcher cut the breast in half, keeping the wings attached but removing the wing tips.

Directions

  1. Step 1

    Brown Chicken
    Season chicken on both sides with 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Preheat a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and the oil to pot. When butter melts and foam subsides, add half the chicken, skin side down, in a single layer; do not crowd pot. (If butter begins to blacken, lower 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. Step 2

    Saute Mirepoix
    Reduce heat to medium, and add mirepoix (onion, carrot, and celery) to pot, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Saute mirepoix, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown in places, 8 to 10 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Cook Mushrooms and Flour
    Add mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms darken, become glossy, and begin to release liquid, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in flour, and cook until flour is absorbed by vegetables and is no longer visible, about 1 minute.

  4. Step 4

    Pour in Wine and Broth
    Add wine to pot, and bring to a boil, stirring until liquid just thickens, about 45 seconds. Add broth, and stir.

  5. Step 5

    Simmer Chicken
    Place chicken, skin side up, in a single layer on vegetables; pour juices that have accumulated on plate into pot. Tie parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf together with kitchen twine; add to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover partially. Cook until internal temperature of thickest part of chicken registers 165 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a clean plate. Simmer liquid, uncovered, until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Discard herbs.

  6. Step 6

    Make and Add Liaison
    To make the liaison (sauce thickener), whisk together egg yolks and cream in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, pour 1/2 cup cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, into liaison to temper it. Stir tempered liaison into pot.

  7. Step 7

    Finish with Tarragon, Lemon, and Butter
    Return chicken to pot. Add tarragon, lemon juice, and the remaining butter. Bring to a simmer, stir gently to combine, and serve.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, October 2012

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Reviews (6)

  • 26 Aug, 2014

    I used dark meat only. The sauce was too runny for our liking but I took out the chicken and reduced the sauce. A few more tweeks and it was delicious. I am so glad I found this recipe. I rarely eat French food anymore. When I lived in Australia French food at that time was the trend and I remember eating at a wonderful French restaurant. My friend was far more adventurous than I was and ate escargot.
    My family now want to try more French food.

  • 24 Feb, 2014

    Made exactly as stated except for I used chicken breasts. Turned out delicious. Will make again and again and again...

  • 18 Jan, 2014

    Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum! So good. Follow the recipe as is. We served with egg noodles and it was a perfect comfort food.

  • 23 Nov, 2013

    So good! BUT....be sure to use heavy cream! A light cream may curdle! It's still tasty, but not very smooth!

  • 3 Apr, 2013

    Hands down delicious!!! I followed this recipe to a t with the exception of leaving out the wine. The chicken was so tender, that when poked with a fork it fell off the bone. The sauce was creamy and flavorful. Came out exactly like how it looks in the picture. Served with chibatta bread, perfect sponge to soak up all the juices.....2 words JUST YUM!

  • 6 Nov, 2012

    Fabulous. The fresh tarragon finish was marvelous. I served the chicken on a bed of freshly riced yukon gold potatoes in a pasta dish, since the sauce was a bit runny and wouldn't reduce. I made two batches a day ahead, but them in a lasagna pan, and reheated gently. I sauteed the chicken very lightly as described in Julia Child's recipe, which keeps the chicken from drying out. I also used only breasts and thighs. Went well with a French light red Bordeaux.