The coming of the summer means longer, warmer, and sunnier days. But it also means that we will not be too keen on spending too much time in the kitchen. After all, who likes sitting over a simmering pot, surrounded by hot steams, while the temperatures outside call for something cool? So, we are tempted to eat light, a salad, or take the cooking outside by enjoying a barbecue as often as possible. Still, when you have guests over or would like a dish with comforting food, you need to leave those salads aside and prepare something delicious. This is why I will come up with a recipe proposal that is filling, tasty, light, and can be prepared in no time. It can be the ideal solution for a dinner with your friends and loved ones, served with a glass of white wine or a rose, cooled nicely in the fridge for a few hours.
Thus, the following lines will be all about chicken fricassee, a dish that appeared in England somewhere in the 16th century, according to old writings. As you can tell, the name of this dish has French roots in it, as it is believed that “Fricassee” may come from the French “frire”, which means to fry, although it is not certain how this word actually appeared. I love this recipe because it is comforting without being unhealthy. I am not a fan of fried food, plus it makes me think about the stews my grandmother used to cook during my summer vacation at their house. So, yes, chicken fricassee can be considered a stew, as it involves slight sautéing and more simmering, which allows the flavors of the ingredients to beautifully entwine, resulting in a mouthwatering dish.
I will very soon get to the recipe, so you’ll stop guessing, but, before doing so, I have to say that there are a few variations of this recipe. Thus, feel free to choose any of these variations, according to your own preferences. For example, dry white wine is used when simmering the chicken, but if you don’t want to add it, just replace it with the good-old chicken stock, in the same quantity. Also, some recipes will mention adding heavy cream, as the initial chicken fricassee recipe mentions that the dish is served with a thick white sauce. However, if you want to cut the calories and eat lighter, you can opt for low-fat cream or Greek yogurt instead, or simply not add any kind of dairy product to it. In every case, your chicken fricassee will turn out delicious for sure.
Chicken fricassee recipe
Getting down to the recipe, you will have to prepare your grocery list first. So, you will need the following:
- 4 chicken breasts (you can take a whole chicken as well, but do remember that parts with bones will take longer to cook, so chicken breasts cook faster)
- 1 package of mushrooms (about 8 oz. or 100 grams), which can be optional if you are not a fan of mushrooms
- 1 medium-sized onion
- Butter or olive oil
- 150 ml or a fourth of a cup of dry white wine
- 2 cups of chicken stock or broth
- 150 ml or a third of a cup of heavy cream, low-fat cream, or Greek yogurt
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stem or a medium leek
- White all-purpose flour (about one half of cup or 25 grams)
- Fresh parsley (a fourth of a cup)
- 1 tablespoon of thyme (freshly chopped)
- Spices: salt, black pepper (ideally freshly ground); paprika, cumin, and nutmeg (optional)
Begin by preparing the chicken. If you have chicken breasts or larger pieces of chicken, cut them in thinner slices. If you have chicken thighs, leave them as they are. Season them on each side with salt, pepper, and toss them in flour. Heat the butter or oil in a skillet, non-stick would be great, just be careful not to turn the heat too high, as you can burn the butter. Put the chicken in the skillet and cook on each side until it shows a nice golden color. Then remove the chicken from the skillet.
Observation: If you want, to can cook the chicken in the oven, instead of frying it. If you want to do so, skip the tossing in flour part. In this case, preheat the oven to 425°F and arrange the chicken on baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper on each side, place it on the middle rack of the oven, and cook for about 45 minutes until the skin gets crisp.
The next step is to dice the mushrooms and onion and add them to the hot skillet. Turn down the heat to medium and cook them until the onion is glossy and mushrooms are soft. Stir occasionally to make sure that they don’t stick and cook evenly. Cut the carrot, celery stem or leek in fine slices and add them to the skillet as well. Throw in the thyme and paprika as well, and add a pinch of cumin or nutmeg for taste, if you want. Cook for approximately 5 minutes and then add the flour to the mixture. Then add the wine and broth, or just the broth, and the heavy cream, low-fat cream, or Greek yogurt, and allow the mixture to simmer for 45 seconds.
Now it’s time to put the chicken in the skillet or pan. Make sure the heat is on a lower intensity, cover the pan or skillet and allow all the ingredients to simmer together. This will take an additional 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken gets nice and tender. Thus, make sure to check it from once in a while, also taking a look at the liquid in the pan. If the liquid is running low and the chicken is not ready yet, you can add a bit more chicken stock. As the mixture cooks, it should also slightly thicken, due to the flour.
Once it’s cooked, served with freshly chopped parsley on top or even fresh celery leaves, if you like this option better. Just don’t forget to put some of the sauce on the plates as well, as the sauce holds the entire flavor of this dish.
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