Chicken Fricassée (quick French chicken stew)
Pronounced “fri-ka-say”, this is a terrific recipe to get a cosy stew fix any night of the week without hours of slow cooking. This dish is a traditional French chicken stew made with a creamy white sauce with mushrooms, instead of the more common rich, dark brown sauce like you ordinarily see with stews, such as with Coq au Vin and this baked Chicken Stew.
I’m just going to tell it to you straight: the chicken is lovely (juicy, golden brown, etc etc) … but this dish is all about the creamy white sauce!!!
- 4 chicken drumsticks (~150g/5oz each, Note 1)
- 4 chicken thighs , skin-on and bone-in (~250g/8oz each, Note 1)
- 1 tsp salt (cooking / kosher salt)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 4 tbsp / 60g unsalted butter
- 300g / 10oz white mushrooms , halved if small, or cut in 4 to 6 if large
- 2 medium brown onions , sliced 0.6cm (1/2in) wide
- 2 garlic cloves , finely minced
- 1 bay leaf , fresh (sub dried)
- 3 thyme sprigs (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
- 3 tbsp flour , plain / all-purpose
- 1/2 cup white wine , preferably chardonnay (Note 2)
- 3 cups chicken stock , low sodium (preferably homemade!)
- 1/4 tsp salt (cooking / kosher salt)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp parsley , chopped
- 2/3 cup thickened/heavy cream
- Season chicken: Pat chicken dry with paper towels then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Brown thighs: Melt butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet or heavy based pot with a lid. Add chicken thighs, skin side down, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Turn and cook the other side for 1 minute then remove to a plate.
- Brown drumsticks: Then brown the drumsticks, as best you can. I do 3 sides, about 2 minutes each. Then remove from skillet.
- Sauté mushrooms and onion: Add mushrooms, onion, bay leave and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes until mushroom is lightly golden – they won't go deep golden brown.
- Garlic and flour: Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Wine and chicken stock: Add wine and chicken stock. Stir, scraping the base of the pot to dissolve the brown residue stuck to the pan ("fond") into the sauce.
- Return chicken to sauce: Return chicken back into the sauce with the skin side up.
- Simmer covered 10 minutes: Once it comes to a simmer, adjust heat so it's bubbling constantly but not rapidly (see video) – medium-low on my stove. Cover with lid and simmer 10 minutes.
- Uncover 20 minutes: Remove lid and let it simmer for a further 20 minutes. Chicken will be cooked – internal temperature 75°C/167°F or slightly higher.
- Creamy sauce: Remove chicken to a plate. Add cream and stir. Once it comes up to a simmer, taste sauce (I know, big ask!), and add more salt if desired..
- Serve! Return chicken into the sauce then remove from the stove. Sprinkle with parsley and serve! Traditionally served over mashed potato or rice. Also ideal with short pasta like penne, ziti or macaroni.
1. Chicken – Needs to be skin on, bone in pieces so they don’t overcook and dry out. If you are dead set on making this with boneless breast, brown it per recipe, simmer sauce with lid off for 15 minutes (to reduce), then add breast and simmer with lid on for 6 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 65°C/149°F. For boneless thigh, do the same except the internal temperature should be 75°C/167°F. 2. Wine – Any dry white wine will work great here, though chardonnay is particularly good because it adds good flavour. Don’t use anything too sweet or too woody. Non alcoholic substitute: Replace with more chicken stock. 3. Recipe source – Another winning Gallic classic created with the help of French chef Jean-Baptiste Alexandré!
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