Chicken grand-mère, a savory fricassée, is a classic in French cuisine in general, but it was a classic in my family, too. It was a specialty and a favorite of my Grandmother Francine, the grandmother who cooked at the original Café Boulud outside Lyon, and at no time was it better than at mushroom harvest time. Mushrooms are a typical chicken grand-mère ingredient, but there was nothing typical about the dish when my grandmother would add roses des prés, pink field mushrooms, newly dug potatoes and new garlic. Fortunately, this dish always seems to be both satisfying and soothing whether you’re making it plain, with cultivated cremini or oyster mushrooms and creamer potatoes, or fancy, dressing it up with exotic mushrooms and any of the small fingerling or banana potatoes that many greenmarkets now offer.–Daniel Boulud and Dorie Greenspan
LC Don't Forget The Baguette Note
Don’t forget the baguette, author Daniel Boulud beseeches you, when you make this recipe. Actually, to be specific, don’t forget “plenty of pieces of crusty baguette,” explains the author, “that you use to sop up the sauce and as something upon which to spread the soft, caramel-like garlic that is easily squeezed out of its papery skin.” Not going to argue.
Classic French Chicken Fricassée Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 1 H, 15 M
- Makes 4 servings
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- One 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12 cipollini onions, peeled and trimmed
- 4 shallots, peeled and trimmed
- 2 garlic heads, cloves separated but not peeled
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 4 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 small celery roots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 ounces slab bacon, cut into short, thin strips
- 12 small cremini or oyster mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
- 2 cups homemade chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
- 1. Warm the olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat. (Choose a pan with high sides and a cover.) Season the chicken pieces all over with salt and pepper, slip them into the pan, and cook until they are well browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Take your time. You want a nice, deep color and you also want to cook the chicken 3/4 through at this point. When the chicken is deeply golden but not cooked through, transfer it to a platter and keep it in a warm place while you work on the vegetables.
- 2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons cooking fat from the pan. Lower the heat to medium, add 2 tablespoons butter, the onions, shallots, garlic, and thyme, and cook and stir just until the vegetables start to take on a little color, about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, celery root, and bacon and cook 1 to 2 minutes, just until the bacon begins to render its fat. Cover the pan and cook another 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
- 3. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and return the chicken to the pan. Cook for 10 minutes, until the vegetables and chicken are completely cooked through. Spoon everything onto a warm serving platter or into an attractive casserole and keep warm while you finish the sauce.
- 4. Pour the chicken stock into the pan and bring it to a boil over medium heat, scraping up the bits of vegetable and chicken that may have stuck to the pan. Cook the stock at a boil until it is reduced by half. Remove the pan from heat and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Strain the sauce over the chicken and vegetables, and serve immediately.
Classic French Chicken Fricassée Recipe © 1999 Daniel Boulud and Dorie Greenspan. Photo © 1999 Gentl & Hyers. All rights reserved.