I didn’t poll on this one, because I knew what I was going to make.
It was time to crack, once again, Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and make, this time, a fricassee of chicken called Fricassée de Poulet à L’Ancienne which is “Old-fashioned Chicken Fricassee with Wine-flavored Cream Sauce, Onions, and Mushrooms”.
This is described as a “traditional Sunday dish”, which sounded just fine by me. You sweat your veg, carrot, celery and onion in butter and then brown your chicken, add your flour and stock, cover with the liquid, which is stock and wine or vermouth with an herb bouquet of parsley, bay leaf, and thyme. The garnish is pearl onions (which needed a separate step) and mushrooms (which needed a separate step).
I used a large cut up fryer.
And wash wash wash everything.
You sweat your veg, carrot, celery and onion in butter…
… brown your chicken, add your flour …
… cover with the cooking liquid, which is stock and wine or vermouth – I used dry white vermouth – with an herb bouquet of parsley, bay leaf, and thyme. I have a plenty of each in my herb garden.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
BTW… I opted for the Fricassée de Poulet à l’Estragon option, since I have a lot of tarragon on hand. Am I glad I did!
The recipe directs you to use Oignos glaces a blanc, “White-braised Onions”. I opted not to do this. I wanted a darker flavor and so I browned mine, though I followed the rest of the recipe. The recipe also wants Champignons a blanc, “Stewed Mushrooms”. I also opted not to do this. Instead I browned sliced portobellos.
The next time I make this, I will do also the onions and mushrooms following the recipe more closely.
My guest likes potatoes, so I made potatoes… roasted in the oven with olive oil and rosemary.
With crusty bread.
Child suggests a “chilled, fairly full-bodied white Burgundy, Côtes du Rhône, or Bordeaux-Graves”. I priced the thin selection of white Burgundy available and didn’t see anything I liked for a good price. Thus, I opted for an un-oaked Chardonnay. White Burgundy is usually Chardonnay, but the French style uses less oak than the American style. I much prefer less oak.
- Make the mushrooms and the onions ahead of time, before you start with the main recipe.
- Prepare the herb bouquets ahead of time.
- Julia provides directions if you are using an electric skillet. If you have one – I don’t – you might want to use this option because you can set temperatures. Start with a large skillet with high sides. I started with my big casserole because I had a particularly large chicken.
- If you can, get an herb garden going. You will save a great deal of money if you don’t have buy fresh herbs, which are spendy.