Sunday, November 4, 2012

Chicken Fricassée

Winter is coming. The fall crisp in the air is beginning to dig deeper. Scarves serve a purpose rather than merely to add color to daily wear. I find myself lighting candles and sipping on cider to ease into the cold -- reminders that I'm not in Tucson anymore.

This Chicken Fricassée recipe caught my eye last month in Martha Stewart Living. It's all of the familiarity of chicken noodle soup, just a little fancier (and French-er) and without with starch. The mirepoix and herbs given this dish wonderful flavor, while the mushrooms, wine, and chicken add the earth and girth to the meal.

With only about an hour of combined prep and cook time, Chicken Fricassée can easily be a weeknight meal. I'll be eating it for the rest of the week to be sure.

Chicken Fricassée
adapted from Martha Stewart

yields 4 servings

2 lbs of chicken pieces
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
3 carrots, diced (1 cup)
4 celery stalk, diced (1 cup)
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2/3 cup dry white wine
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
6 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

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 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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Return chicken to pot. Add tarragon and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, stir gently to combine, and serve. Enjoy.

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