Family Friendly Fricasee

November 15, 2012

"Life's not all fricasee, frogs, and eel pie, you know!" -Puddleglum, from The Silver Chair

I'm sure that is the kind of introduction that endears you to this amazing recipe-- that it would be lumped together with frogs and eel pie. :) Well, it indeed is THAT good. At least to me and Puddleglum.

Fricasee is a French stew/sautee that seems to be the creamy cousin to it's French counterpart,  boeuf bourguignon. Instead of red wine, it's white. Instead of beef, it's chicken. Instead of dark and rich gravy, it's lemony creamy sauce of multiple herbs and flavors. None of the ingredients are terribly expensive, but the combination is decadent!

So, you've long experienced my fondness for Martha Stewart and Julia Child recipes, but not for the impracticalities that sometimes accompany many of them. This one's no exception. I've made this recipe my own: Instead of bone-in chicken pieces, I've used chicken thighs. I've included more vegetables than is probably necessary because that's how I like it, and I've made my recipe reflect my love of that bright lemony note in the sauce. Oh, and I don't usually have fresh herbs on hand in the wintertime, so I've used all dry herbs you probably already have in your pantry. Enjoy....this is bound to be a family favorite.

Family Friendly Fricasee
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Ruth Simons
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 1 hour
Serves: 4-6
Rich and creamy chicken dish with sophisticated flavors but made simple for the whole family to enjoy.
  • 6 boneless/skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 T. butter
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 T. dried parsley
  • 1 T. dried tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • juice of 1 large lemon (or 1/4 cup lemon juice if you like it extra tangy like I do!)
  • To serve:
  • 1 package dried wide egg noodles, cooked and drained; or mashed potatoes for each serving
  1. In a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, melt butter and olive oil over medium high heat until foaming. Salt and pepper chicken thighs and place in pan and gently brown each side of the chicken thighs. Remove thighs from pan and set aside on a plate.
  2. Now add all the vegetables, and saute until onions and celery are translucent and soft. Add flour and stir, scraping bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook for several minutes while scraping gently.
  3. Add broth and wine, and stir so that the floured mixture begins to cook into a gravy. Add all the herbs and combine gently.
  4. Add chicken thighs back into mixture and bring back to a boil. Then turn heat down to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to release bits off the bottom of the pan.
  5. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks with the heavy cream. Temper the mixture by adding a ladle-ful or two of gravy mixture into the bowl, and stirring. Slowly pour the tempered cream mixture into the pot, and stir while it simmers for another 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and combine thoroughly.
  6. Serve over cooked noodles or mashed potatoes.


So, I simply can't recommend it enough...for its one-pot simplicity, for the curiosity in flavor, and for its welcome into the world of French cuisine in the winter months.

***Because I simply love to use my dutch over, I cook this dish stovetop, but this recipe can easily be adapted for the crockpot. Saute, combine, and cook for 6 hours on low. Then add the eggs/heavy cream before serving. That's it!

*I double this recipe when we have another family over for dinner!

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