My attempts in writing the title to this post resulted in many misspellings of the word “fricassée”. I will not tell you the number of times I tried and failed to spell it…and do not ask Ben, because he will probably tell you and I will be embarrassed.
Despite the difficulty involved in spelling this French word, this tarragon chicken fricassée was quite easy to prepare and very delicious.
Fricassée is, by definition, meat, usually chicken or veal, browned lightly, stewed, and served in a sauce made with its own stock. The origin of the word itself is French, but there are many regional variations of a fricassée. Greek and Cuban fricassée are a few that I saw while searching for recipes.
The meal I made was, if I had to ascribe it to a region, French. I love the flavor of the fresh tarragon. It gives this dish an incredibly fresh flavor and perfectly slight sweetness. Tarragon is a classic herb used in French cooking, and is considered to be one of the four fine herbs of Mediterranean cooking. The other three are parsley, chives and chervil.
Some fricassée recipes use a variety of vegetables along with the chicken. Quite a few recipes included mushrooms and onions. A few had vegetables like peas, beans or peppers. One recipe I saw had apples. This recipe is simple in that the only vegetables to be found are shallots and tarragon. Is garlic a vegetable? Is tarragon a vegetable? Anyway. This is a simple chicken fricassée which allows for the flavors of the tarragon, chicken, white wine and cream to really shine and not be covered or overshadowed by a bunch of other stuff.
Everything in the recipe below is just as it was originally, except I used 4 chicken breasts and added more tarragon. You can find the original recipe here. I served this with green beans with toasted walnuts and egg noodles. I will definitely be making this again. I used the leftovers in a really special meal the following evening…more on that later.
Tarragon Chicken Fricassée
- 4 bone-in chicken breasts (skin on or off)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup finely chopped shallots
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon
- ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Pat chicken dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté chicken in 2 batches, skin side down first, turning over once, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes total per batch. Transfer to a plate.
- Pour off all but 2 tablespoons oil from skillet, then cook shallots, garlic, and bay leaf over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened, about 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil. Stir in cream, broth, and 1 tablespoon tarragon, then add chicken, skin side up, and simmer, covered, until just cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer chicken with tongs to a platter and keep warm, loosely covered. If necessary, boil sauce until thickened slightly.
- Stir in lemon juice, remaining 1/2 tablespoon tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaf; pour sauce over chicken.