Are you craving chicken tonight? Why not try our chicken fricassee. Our recipe creates a velvety white sauce that is seasoned with lemon juice and fresh tarragon.
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Chicken fricassee is a French stew with a white sauce. There are many variations of fricassee using different kinds of meat. Chicken and veal are the most common, but lamb, rabbit, and shellfish are also used.
A vegetarian fricassee uses mushrooms in place of the meat along with other vegetables.
Our chicken fricassee takes basic pantry staples that are easy to find. Let's talk about the key ingredients.
- Chicken: We used skin on, bone in: thighs and drumsticks. If you choose to use skinless, boneless breasts or boneless thighs, the simmering time will be shorter.
- Aromatics: We used yellow onions, carrots and celery all finely chopped to the same size.
- Dairy: We used butter, egg yolks, and heavy whipping cream.
- Spices: We used fresh parsley, thyme and tarragon. For dried spices we used salt, black pepper and bay leaves.
- Flour: We used all purpose flour, but if you need it gluten free, try rice flour, potato starch or tapioca.
How to Make
Gather all the ingredients for our chicken fricassee. Chop the onion, then dice the celery and carrots. Squeeze the lemon juice, and separate the eggs. Set aside the whites for another use.
- Pat dry the meat then sprinkle both sides with salt and black pepper. Heat the butter and oil in two large skillets, then place the meat skin side down. Sear for 5 minutes each side turning once.
- Place one tablespoon of reserved fat in each skillet and turn the heat to medium. Sauté half of the onion, carrot, and celery in each skillet until softened.
3. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the vegetables and cook the flour until it smells nutty, roughly 2 minutes. Deglaze the two skillets by pouring white wine over the vegetables and scraping the bits off the bottom with a wooden turner. Let the wine boil and thicken.
4. Slowly pour in the stock and stir until thickened.
5. Make two bouquet garnis by gathering up fresh thyme, parsley, and a bay leaf and tying the bundle with some kitchen twine. Return the browned meat to the skillets, then add a bouquet garni to each skillet.
Partially cover each skillet with a lid or some foil. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 35 minutes.
Check the temperature of the meat; it should be 165°F in the thickest part. Once it is cooked, remove it from the skillet and place it on a clean plate.
To let the sauce thicken, let it simmer for 5 minutes uncovered over medium low heat.
6. Meanwhile, make the liaison by constantly whisking the cream into the room temperature egg yolks. Temper the liaison by adding ½ cup of the simmering sauce, one tablespoon at a time, to the egg cream mixture. Make sure to whisk constantly.
Slowly add the tempered liaison to the simmering sauce, whisking constantly.
7. Whisk in two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice into each skillet, and then a generous sprinkle of fresh tarragon. Add the meat back to the two skillets and heat through over medium low heat.
8. Serve the fricassee on a platter and pour the gravy in a gravy boat. Once you get started in the kitchen, the time will fly by, and before you know it, you'll be cheerfully saying to your family, "Bon Appétit!" Enjoy our chicken fricassee recipe with your loved ones.
Fricassee is a method of cooking that uses both dry and wet heat. The dry heat happens when the vegetables are sauteed. The wet heat happens when the meat and vegetables are braised in a liquid, usually a stock. To paraphrase Julia Child, a fricassee is half way between a saute and a stew.
Fricassee is a french word that is pronounced fri-kuh-SEE, with the accent on the last syllable.
Fricassee is most commonly served over starchy sides like rice, mashed potatoes, polenta, or buttered noddles. You can round out your meal with a fresh green leafy salad, and a big chunk of crusty bread.
It comes down to how the meat in these two recipes are cooked. With chicken stew, the meat is cooked by boiling it. With chicken fricassee, it's smothered or pan fried first then boiled.
- Make Ahead: When using leftover cooked meat that was roasted or poached, cut up the meat and add it in near the end of the sauce recipe.
- Freeze: Yes and no; it depends on if you put cream in your sauce. If you know you want to freeze half of the chicken fricassee recipe, remove half of the sauce before adding the cream or the liaison. You can freeze the meat and the sauce, without cream, separately in airtight containers for up to one month. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Reheating from Frozen: When ready to serve, reheat the sauce in a skillet over medium low heat. Perform step #6. Add a thickening agent (a liaison of tempered egg yolks and cream), fresh lemon juice, and fresh tarragon. To finish, add the thawed meat and heat through until warm over medium low heat.
- Need a vegetarian version? Use morel or button mushrooms instead of the meat.
- Need a gluten free sauce? Use rice flour, potato starch, or tapioca.
- Don't want to use dairy cream? Use coconut cream.
- Don't want to use white wine? Use broth.
- Want more ways to finish the sauce? Use lemon zest, freshly chopped herbs, a splash of vinegar, or a dollop of crème fraîche.
- Want brightly colored vegetables? Blanch them. Do leeks for 3 minutes, carrots for 1 minute, and peas for 1 min.
- Want to use a whole chicken? Go for it! Just put aside the wing tips for another dish.
- Want crispy chicken skin? Pat the chicken dry, then only flip it once while searing.
- Leftover gravy? Store covered in the fridge and use on mashed potatoes, rice, or toast.
- Want a thicker sauce? Add an additional tablespoon of flour when making the roux and simmer the sauce longer uncovered.
- Serving this to children? Cut the meat off the bone and pour the sauce on top before serving.
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- 5 chicken thighs
- 6 chicken drumsticks
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ cups onion, finely chopped
- 1 ½ cups carrots, finely diced
- ¾ cup celery, finely diced
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup white wine
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 6 sprigs fresh parsley
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 egg yolks, room temperature
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
- Rinse and pat dry the meat, then place it on two plates and generously sprinkle both sides with salt and black pepper.
- Divide the butter between two heavy-bottomed, high sided skillets. Melt the butter over medium-high heat until it's frothy, then add the oil. Place the drumsticks skin side down in one skillet and the thighs in the other without overcrowding. Fry the meat on one side until it's golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium low once the butter starts to brown. Flip it once to brown the other side for 5 minutes, then place the pieces on a clean plate. Pour out most the fat from both skillets into a small bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon for each skillet.
- Divide the onion, carrot, and celery between the two skillets and turn the heat to medium. Scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden turner. Stir the mirepoix occasionally until the onions turn golden brown, about 8 minutes.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the veggies in each skillet and stir until the flour is absorbed. Keep stirring until the flour smells nutty, roughly two minutes.
- Pour the white wine into each skillet over the mirepoix. Let it boil and thicken for about a minute. Scrape up any remaining brown bits off the bottom of the pot with a wooden turner. Slowly whisk in the stock, dividing it between the two skillets.
- Gather up some fresh thyme, parsley, and a bay leaf. Arrange into a small bouquet and tie with kitchen string. Make another bouquet for the second skillet.
- Return the drumsticks and thighs to each skillet, along with the juices from the plate. Add the bouquet garni. Don't submerge the seared chicken in the stock; 1 to 1 ½ inches of liquid is all you need. Partially cover each skillet with a lid askew or with foil. Bring the skillets to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 35 minutes. When done, the meat should have an internal temperature of 165 F in the thickest part. Remove the meat and place on a large plate; also, remove the two bouquet garnis and discard them.
- Reduce the liquid by simmering it uncovered for 5 minutes over medium low heat. You should end up with about 3 ⅓ cups (788 ml) of liquid.
- While the sauce simmers, make the liaison, which will help thicken the sauce. Whisk the cream into the room temperature egg yolks. Add ½ cup of the hot cooking liquid, one tablespoon at a time, to the liaison. Make sure to whisk constantly during this tempering process. Slowly add the liaison to the sauce, whisking constantly. Make sure the sauce is simmering and not boiling, or the egg yolks will scramble and ruin the sauce.
- As a finishing touch, add two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to each skillet and whisk it in, then sprinkle on the fresh tarragon. Return the chicken pieces to each skillet and let the meat heat through for a few minutes over low heat.
- Place the meat on a platter and pour the sauce into a gravy boat. Serve the chicken and gravy warm with mashed potatoes, rice, or buttered noodles.
- If you want to use a whole chicken put aside the wing tips for another dish.
- Patting the chicken dry, then only flipping it once while searing will produce a crispy chicken skin.
- If you have leftover gravy, store it covered in the fridge and use on mashed potatoes, rice, or toast.
- If the sauce isn't thick enough, add an additional tablespoon of flour when making the roux and simmer the sauce longer uncovered.
- If you plan to serving this to children, cut the meat off the bone and pour the sauce on top before serving.
Our chicken fricassee recipe post was originally published on January 26, 2018 and was updated on August 9, 2019. It was republished on July 2, 2022 with resized photos and refreshed content.