The French cooking style fricassée may not be a term you've heard much in the United States unless you live in a southern state where it's a popular eat. The most well-known dish cooked via this technique is chicken fricassée, which is traditionally prepared using white wine and heavy cream to create a luscious sauce. This hearty comfort food is often served over rice, or with other sides like steamed veggies or fluffy mashed potatoes.
Thought to be a combination of the French words for "to fry" and "to cut up," fricassée is characterized by first sautéing chicken before then stewing it in a spiced blond broth that's cooked separately. Out of all the ways to cook stew, fricassée is made particularly delicious by this combo of wet and dry cooking as well as simmering the chicken while it's still on the bone, which infuses the broth with even more mouthwatering flavor. You can use other types of meat in your French-style fricassée like veal or lamb, swap it out for fish, or even just braise some veggies. It's as easy as pulling out your trusty Dutch oven or a large cast iron pan and gathering your ingredients to get started.
Get Creative With Your Fricassée
When sautéing your chicken in olive oil and salt and pepper for chicken fricassée, the goal isn't to overly brown the meat, as this would take away from the classic white sauce. Five minutes on low heat should turn each side golden, and you can set it aside as you build the sauce. Saute all your go-to stew-worthy veggies like mushrooms, onions, and carrots, with generous teaspoons of aromatic spices like garlic, bay leaves, or thyme, then add in flour to build a roux. It's important to always deglaze the pan with wine and let it reduce by half before placing the chicken and cream in the roux and baking for just under 30 minutes.
Some recipes end with a brief, 15-minute stovetop simmer once the cream and chicken are added. Other chefs prefer to sauté the chicken and veggies, and let the oven work its magic, adding in the heavy cream afterward to thicken over medium heat for a similar time frame.
Fricassée recipes vary, so there's room to get creative. You don't even have to stick to a blond sauce for it to be a fricassée; Puerto Rican versions feature a tomato-based red sauce, or you can brown your meat before stewing it to achieve a darker sauce. Try it with simple white rice to soak up the sauce's rich flavor.
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