Think of chicken fricassee as a chicken pot pie without the pie. It’s a treasured dish, here and in Germany where it is called chicken fricassee (Hühnerfrikassee).
In this country, it is more of a home-cooked everyday meal, while in Germany its can be a fancy dish. In the 1960s, it was often served at weddings in a Vol-au-Vent (a small hollow case of puff pastry). It was part of my wedding dinner when I got married decades ago in Germany. But more often, chicken fricassee is served with rice, mashed potatoes or noodles. I had it with homemade Spätzle. The vegetables in this dish can vary; when in season asparagus is often added. Peas, carrots and mushroom are called for in most recipes. In the old days, canned white asparagus and canned mushrooms were added .
I have always enjoyed cooking this dish; it is the essence of comfort food. A few weeks ago, I was the personal chef of a friend of mine who was caring for her father during his last days. I made a big batch using two whole chickens, fresh asparagus, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and peas. I have made much smaller portions using chicken legs or breasts. The dish freezes well. I froze a portion for my husband to have when I go to Germany this spring.
I have prepared this dish many times. And I have to say, the secret is in the sauce. I boil the chicken with veggies to make a homemade broth. Usually, I do this a day before. When I was cooking the dish for my friends, I prepared a large casserole and put a sheet of puff pastry on the top. Then I baked it in the oven following the instructions on the puff pastry package. I have also made it with a homemade cream cheese crust in individual serving dishes. If you use a crust, make sure you have plenty of sauce because the dish tends to dry out while baking. That happened to me.
Recipe for Chicken Fricassee
This recipe will make 8-10 portions.
For the chicken broth:
2 small whole chickens
2-3 celery stalks (with leaves)
1 onion (with peel)
1 leek (or clean dark leek leaves)
A handful of parsley
1-2 tsp of salt
1tsp garlic salt
1-2 tsp pepper
8 ounces carrots (6 small ones)
6-7 ounces mushrooms
2 lb. green asparagus
4 TBs capers
3 TBs butter
3 TBs flour
4 or more cups chicken broth
1 or more cups of milk
½ cup cream or half and half
1 tsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
4 tsp. capers
1-2 TBs fresh lemon juice
Cooking the Chicken
Place the chicken pieces or whole chicken in a large pot and add the vegetables. Cover everything with cold water. Bring it to a boil, and skim off the white foam from the top. Reduce the heat and simmer in the covered pot until chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Cook the chicken breast less until the meat thermometer reads 165° degrees. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl and cool. Discard the skin and bones. Cut or pull the meat into 1-inch pieces. Strain the chicken broth and put the cooled broth in the refrigerator.
Preparing the vegetables
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add salt and blanch the carrots for about two minutes until they are al dente. Do the same with the asparagus. You have the choice of blanching the mushrooms or sautéing them in a mixture of butter and olive oil over a medium heat. I have done both and honestly I can’t tell the difference.
The sauce and assembling the fricassee
Melt butter in a large sauce pan, add the flour and whisk for two minutes. Make sure you don’t brown the roux. Gradually add in the chicken broth, one cup at a time. Before you add another cup, whisk the mixture until totally smooth for a creamy sauce. Add milk, Worcestershire sauce, capers, and let the sauce simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add cream or half and half, salt, pepper, freshly ground nutmeg and lemon juice. Add the chicken and bring it all to a simmer, then add the carrots, mushrooms, and asparagus . Season and serve.
If you want to add a crust, put the fricassee in a buttered oven-proof dish, cover the top with the puff pastry, and follow the instructions on the package. Cut some slits in the pastry and bake the dish until golden brown.
I would like to share with you some blog posts from prior Easter celebration in Germany. There are so many traditions and good recipes. Click on the photo for the link.
Happy Easter 2022
from the Sunnycovechef
WELCOME TO SUNNY COVE CHEF
Thank you for visiting my blog. My two passions are cooking and traveling. Traveling exposes me to a wide variety of food and experiences. I walk around cities looking for markets, restaurants, bakeries, shops, you name it, and if it is related to food you will find me there, tasting, smelling, talking to vendors, and having a great time.