Chicken Fricassee is classic comfort food, absolutely ideal for fall. There are red leaves and political signs littering the lawns in our neighborhood, pumpkins and scarecrows and wood smoke in the air. It’s my favorite time of year.
It was already dark as I started putting this dish together. The baby was mashing bananas into her highchair tray and Beastie Boys radio played on Pandora. The windows steamed up as I stirred and scraped, sipped a little Gruner and prepared the rice.
The result is velvety. Rich yet light. Creamy, lemony, and fragrant with winter herbs. I am pleased and proud to present my version of this very old and wonderful savory dish.
- 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 lbs), cut into pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, quartered
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 sprigs flat leaf parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 egg yolks, room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Pat the chicken dry and season the skin with salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven melt 2 tablespoons butter with olive oil. Over medium-high heat brown chicken on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium and saute onion, carrots, and celery until soft, about 8 minutes. Scrape up brown bits with a wooden spoon.
Add mushrooms, cooking 4-5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook about 1 minute, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
Pour in the wine and bring to a boil, stirring until liquid thickens, less than a minute. Then add broth.
Place chicken, skin side up, back in the pot, along with any accumulated juices. Add herbs and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook, partially covered, 25-30 minutes.
Remove chicken to a plate and simmer the liquid uncovered, about 5 minutes.
To make the sauce thickener – called a liaison – whisk egg yolks and heavy cream together in a small bowl. Remove 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to another bowl and, one tablespoon at a time, temper the eggs and cream. Slowly stir the thickener into the pot.
Return chicken to the pot. Add remaining butter and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, stirring gently, and serve over rice or with bread.