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This quintessential chicken stew is traditionally served over rice, creamy mashed potatoes, or -- our choice -- lightly buttered egg noodles. You'll also want to have a loaf of crusty bread on hand to sop up the extra sauce.
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Simmer of Love
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.
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Greater than the Sum of Its Parts
Have your butcher cut the breast in half, keeping the wings attached but removing the wing tips.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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