I first tried chicken fricassée when my Hawaiian (then) flatmate brought her boyfriend who decided to cook for us. But that was chicken fricassé, or chicken fricasse, and had little or nothing to do to with where this incredible dish originally came from. (It was delicious none the less though.)
But what I made today was the first recipe I chose from my recently arrived Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Les Trois Gourmandes (Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle and most importantly, Julia Child of course.) Officially, the dish below is called Fricassée de Poulet á l’Ancienne.
What ever I have cooked before this, I swear was simple – this is French cooking at its best, and cooking this dish for only myself took me an hour and a half. Amazing. I am loving it!
First of all, let me just show you how entertained I was when I lined up everything I needed for this dish.
I cooked a carrot and an onion in butter; I added the chicken and fried it until yellow; I covered it and cooked it for another 10 minutes. Then I seasoned and sprinkled in flour – I turned it a few times, then added chicken stock, white wine, seasoning, a bay leaf, parsley, thyme and cooked it for twenty minutes.
In the meantime, I also prepared a separate side dish – mushrooms stewed in lemon juice, butter, water and salt, and let me tell you – it is a whole new world of mushrooms. Absolutely gorgeous.
When the chicken was almost ready, I beat two egg yolks and some double cream together. I removed the chicken from the pan, and boiled down the cooking juices until rather thick. Spoon by spoon I added the cooking juices (mixed with the cooking juices of the stewed mushrooms) to my cream mixture, beating vigorously. When it was all incorporated, back into the pan it went and was thickened until it really coated my spoon. This is when I added some freshly ground nutmeg, which is the ultimate cherry on top.
I did make a mistake though. As you may see, the milk solids and the butter kind of separated in my sauce – this could be because I didn’t whisk the juices in well enough, or because I didn’t thicken them enough. It tasted amazing still, but… well… I have a long way to go to master the art of French cooking!
Luckily, I already mastered the art of “never apologise” so what the heck, so my sauce wasn’t perfect this time.
I know it’s going to be difficult to cook from this book, seeing as I’m really bad at converting measurements, but let’s face it, that’s always hard. I will do my best though, and you can expect a lot of complicated French dishes coming up – no recipe for these though. It would take so very long to type down, plus it’s all in the legendary book, for about £9 from Amazon. (Will type it down if requested though, because I’m nice like that.)
Vera Sugár, graduate with a journalism and creative writing degree, started writing at the age of 10. Passionate about literature, arts, history and languages, she speaks fluent English, French and Spanish. Her works are available at http://goodaswinter.wordpress.com.