Sunday Supper – 3

Julia ChildOn Sundays people should, if they can, get together for a nice meal, something a little different.

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.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Geoffrey says:

    Another great post! Everything looks delicious! Roasted potatoes are my favourite.

    Thank you for these posts! Someday I hope to acquire Julia Child’s mammoth tome. In the meantime I own a smaller book of her French recipes, but have yet to try anything… yet!

    “If you can, get an herb garden going…”

    I love having an herb garden. The only herb that annoys me is sweet basil… once it dies, it dies… it doesn’t come back. I currently have some seedlings sprouting so that I can always have some on hand.

    P.S. What was served for dessert? ;-)

  2. I didn’t serve dessert today, actually. We just stopped.

  3. juxta crucem says:

    Looks wonderful!
    We only had hot dogs and hamburgers and fresh trout today. But that was after singing at a traditional Mass – three pieces by Palestrina!! with our family choir – 4 families and about 30 little kids running around (afterwards, not in church!)

  4. Bornacatholic says:

    An Herb Garden is a lot of fun. I live in Florida so my herbs are growing year round. And, because I live in Florida, I can grow Cuban Oregano which is intensely flavored and easy to handle because the average leaf is the size of a Tabby Cat’s ear.

    And I grow a LOT of Basil because one can never have too much Basil Pesto. I make 4-6 cups at a time and freeze it in 1/4 cup amounts rolled-up in small baggies. It freezes fantastic

    In front of my house I now have a Rosemary Bush that is about four feet by four feet and about three feet high – all the result of planting one small rosemary plant.

    FYI, I make a GREAT Basil, Mint, Rosemary Pesto which is the best on the planet and is incredible with boned, butterflied, and barbecued Lamb.

  5. wanda says:

    Looks wonderful, Father. I especially like the look of the veggies sweating in the pan. I wish we could ‘smell’ over the internet. Maybe someday. The meal sure looks down home and comforting. I may have to try those roasted potatoes, I have a rosemary plant that is the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you for sharing your time and your Sunday.

    Blessed Memorial Day, Father and all wdtprs’ers. If I may ask, at 3 p.m. today, stop what we are doing and make the National Moment of Remembrance for all who died in service for our nation and for our freedom. [Good idea!]

  6. Bornagain: I make a GREAT Basil, Mint, Rosemary Pesto

    Sounds good! Surely a good pesto is another material proof that God loves us.

  7. Bornacatholic says:

    Dear Fr Z. Amen.

    Here’s the recipe:

    1/2 cup mint
    3/4 cup basil
    1/2 cup rosemary
    1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts or sunflower seeds)
    2 Tbsp Parm Reggiano – freshly grated
    3 Lg Garlic Cloves
    3 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice (I have a Meyer’s Lemon Tree)
    S + P to taste
    EVOO added to optimum consistency

    Fr, I think of myself as a pretty good cook but you put me to shame :)

  8. greg the beachcomber says:

    I’ve always wanted an herb garden, but I’m a little snake-bit. The whitefly destroy my mint every time I plant it, and this year my sweet basil, after doing so well indoors, went yellow on me when I moved it outside; and this in SoCal! Happily, both of my downstairs neighbors have healthy rosemary plants and are happy to share, though I always pick from the back of the plant — too many people walking their dogs in my neighborhood!

  9. irishgirl says:

    That chicken dish looks good, Father Z!

    And I love roasted potatoes!

    Oh, how I wish I could be a decent cook! I don’t have the patience, though….or the equipment…sigh…

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