Sunday Chicken Fricassee

“Newcastle Brown can sure smack you down

You take a greasy whore and a rollin’ dance floor

You know you’re jailhouse-bound” – Humble Pie

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Say it. “Chicken Fricassée”. It’s got this groovy, percussive, Latin rhythm to it that gets you repeating it while you prowl the aisles of the grocery store. “Shoppin’ for some Chi-cken Fri-ca-ssée…some damn good ol’…Chi-cken fri-ca-ssee”. It also photographs really well. Because anything with cream in it always photographs well.

For this recipe you’ll wanna pick up two legs and thighs, and four breasts, all with bone-in and skin-on. That’s another phrase that feels good to say out loud: “bone in”. It’s like “boning-knife.” Seriously, how can you say “boning knife” without cracking up? You can’t. So, after you’ve said “bone-in” enough, season the chicken parts with kosher salt and black pepper.

In your favorite Dutch or French Oven (I use a 6 3/4 qt. Le Creuset that my bro gave me for Chanukah years ago. I can’t find enough superlatives to describe this thing) pour a couple tablespoons of oil and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, place chicken pieces, skin-side down until browned. Using tongs, turn over and brown the other sides.

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During browning, fill a brandy snifter with scotch and ice, crank up some good rock that was recorded between 1967-1973 (by the way, the brandy snifter? I have no idea) and say “bone-in” a few more times.

3After you’ve browned the chicken, enjoyed your scotch, and cranked up some good rock recorded between 1967-1973, remove chicken pieces to a platter and cover with foil. Drain off all but a couple tablespoons of the fat remaining in the pot. On medium high heat, toss in a 1/2 cup of finely chopped shallots, and a bay leaf. (Bay leaves are interesting. For the life of me, I couldn’t accurately describe the flavor to you, but my mom uses bay leaves all the time, and her dishes always look and taste pretty damn good). After the shallots have begun to brown, add half a cup of white wine and a half a cup of chicken broth.

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After using the liquid to deglaze (if you’re not sure what deglazing is, watch any episode of “Good Eats”. Alton Brown loves to talk about deglazing…oh boy, does that nerd love to deglaze) the pot, bring to a simmer, then carefully add a cup of heavy cream. Do NOT use milk, do NOT use half and half. H-E-A-V-Y  C-R-E-A-M.

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When the cream is thick and luscious, add a tablespoon of chopped fresh tarragon, and the juice of half a lemon. At this time, and after pouring another scotch, you want to put on Humble Pie’s “30 Days in the Hole”. At this point I discreetly add a couple tablespoons of butter to the sauce. I say “discreetly” ‘cause it’s a pretty cocky move and “some people” might find it decadent. Ignore them. They’re  be wrong.

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By this time the chicken will be cool enough to handle. Using tongs, and a fork, carefully pull the meat away from the bones, till you have a pile of chicken meat, roughly cut up. Kinda like this

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Toss the chopped chicken into the pot, stir lightly, bring to a simmer and cook through, covered for about ten minutes. While this has been happening, and you’ve successfully bartendered and DJ’d yourself to a happy place, bring a pot of water to a boil, add a teaspoon of salt and throw in a one lb. bag of egg noodles. Cook through, and drain the water. Quickly add a tablespoon of butter, a handful of chopped parsley, and salt and pepper

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On a plate, make a bed of noodles, and using a large ladle or spoon, top with fricassee. Garnish with tarragon and dig in.

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  • 2 Chicken legs with thighs, 4 Chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
  • lemon
  • scotch


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