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Julia Child’s Chicken Fricassee (Fricassee De Poulet A L’Ancienne)

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Ah, the French certainly have a way of making magic in the kitchen. Thanks to Julia Child, I can attempt French cuisine at home and not feel so intimidated. It may not be properly executed using true classical French techniques, but the end result sure is delicious!

Julia Child’s Chicken Fricassee (Fricassee De Poulet A L’Ancienne) is one dish I recently made and the time and effort to make this dish is so worth it. Chicken is slow braised in stock and white wine and served with a buttery sauce alongside tender whole onions and stewed mushrooms. Who needs a fancy French restaurant when you can make this at home?!…

There are three components of this recipe: braised onions, stewed mushrooms and the chicken fricassee. It may sound and even look daunting in print, but when you’re in the kitchen, it’s quite an approachable dish, even if you’re not big on cooking. If anything, a majority of the work is put towards the prepping of the dish such as chopping the vegetables, and tying up the herb bouquets.

Once all that is in place, it goes very quickly where you place it in a pot, cover and let it slow cook for awhile. It’s definitely a meal where you’ll have some down time. So get your wine and glasses ready. Give this recipe a try, pour yourself a glass and enjoy this French meal with someone you love.

Julia Child’s Chicken Fricassee (Fricassee De Poulet A L’Ancienne)
recipe as seen on Mrs. Regueiro’s Plate
adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking: Volume 1

White-Braised Onions (Oignons Glacés à Blanc):
4-5 peeled white onions
1/2 cup of chicken stock or dry white wine
2 tablespoons butter
Salt & pepper to taste
Small herb bouquet (2 parsley sprigs, 2 thyme sprigs and 1 bay leaf tied in a cheesecloth)

Fresh Stewed Mushrooms (Champignons à Blanc):
8 ounces of fresh baby bella mushrooms, chopped and quartered
juice of half lemon
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup water
Salt & pepper  

Chicken Fricassee (Fricassee De Poulet):
3 pounds of chicken (drumsticks, thighs, bone-in chicken breasts or mix of all)
4 tablespoons of butter
2 medium-sized carrots, diced finely
2 celery stalk, diced finely
1 medium white onion, diced finely
Salt & white pepper
3 tablespoon flour
3 cups of chicken stock, boiling hot
1 cup of dry white wine
Small herb bouquet: (2 parsley springs, 2 thyme sprigs, and 1 bay leaf – tied in a cheesecloth)
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Dash of fresh nutmeg
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
2 tablespoon butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon of Italian parsley, chopped

For the braised onions (which should be done first):
In a medium saucepan over low heat, add the onions, butter, chicken stock, seasonings and herb bouquet. Cover and simmer for 45 to 50 minutes. Add liquid as needed if too much evaporates. As the onions cook, they will become sweet and tender, yet still maintain it’s shape. Once they are done, remove from heat and set aside until called for in the chicken fricassee recipe below.

For the stewed mushrooms (which should be done while the chicken fricassee is simmering):

Bring the water, butter, lemon juice to boil in a small saucepan. Add the mushrooms and stir, ensuring they are covered by liquid. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Set aside until until called for in the chicken fricassee recipe below.

For the chicken fricassee:
Pat the chicken pieces down with a paper towel, and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Place a few pieces of the seasoned chicken in the dutch oven skin side down, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. I recommend frying in batches to get a nice color on the chicken. Once the chicken pieces are nicely browned, remove them from the pot and set aside.

In the now empty dutch oven, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the mirepoix (carrots, celery and onions) over medium high heat and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper to your tastes. Once the mirepoix has softened, add the flour and stir to coat the vegetables. Continue cooking for about 30 seconds to 1 minute to cook off the flour.

Add the wine to the pot and stir, picking up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Then add the chicken stock. The liquid should start to thicken a bit.

Add the herb bouquet and chicken back to the pot, nestled on top of the vegetables. Make sure the liquid covers the chicken and add additional chicken stock or water if needed. Taste for seasoning. Cover the dutch oven and cook at a low simmer for 30-35 minutes.

Uncover the dutch oven and increase heat to high. Let the sauce reduce and thicken. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add the egg yolks and heavy cream and whisk to combine. Carefully add a few spoonfuls of sauce from the dutch oven to the egg and cream mixture, while continually whisking. Be careful to not let the eggs scramble. Continue to add the sauce to the egg and cream mixture until it becomes warm to the touch. At that point, add the egg liquid mixture into the dutch oven. Mix well and the sauce should be a beautiful golden liquid.

Bring the dutch oven to a boil and taste for seasonings, adding salt and pepper as needed. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Bring the heat down to a low simmer and add the braised onions and mushrooms; stirring well to incorporate.

Add 2 tablespoons of softened butter and chopped fresh Italian parsley to the pot and stir again. Serve the chicken fricassee with steamed rice or creamy mashed potatoes. Garnish with additional Italian parsley if desired.

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About Joelen

  • Katherine

    This is a favourite chicken dish. It always gets compliments and if you make extra, it tastes even better the next day.

  • Simon

    Very nice.

  • Kathy Hi

    this is old time recipe. my mom use to talk about it at home.

  • Guest

    If you make this the day before, how do you reheat it without drying out the chicken?

  • Kris

    I made this dish today and was quite disappointed. Maybe I did something wrong but the outcome was not worth the work that went into it. Since we had guests over I made a large batch. Maybe that’s where something went wrong. Anyway, the guests were satisfied but I didn’t get the usual oh’s and ah’s.

  • Disgusted

    This recipe is completely incorrect. If you actually follow Julia’s instructions, they explicitly state that you are NOT to allow the chicken to brown (the chicken skins should turn yellow, but never golden or brown). Also, the mirepoix is sautéed in butter first, then the chicken is added to cook on low heat among the softened vegetables. Then, the chicken is removed, seasoned modestly with salt and pepper, and dredged in flour, then added back into the pan to continue cooking on LOW heat. Furthermore, NO additional salt or pepper is added until the sauce is nearly completed (AFTER making the béchamel, which has been completely omitted from this recipe). Finally, you do not dump the braised onions and cooked mushrooms into the pan with the chicken, mirepoix, and sauce! You add the cooking liquid from the sautéed mushrooms to the sauce for depth of flavor. The onions and mushrooms are served alongside the chicken as side/ garnish, as are (optionally) the mirepoix.
    Who taught you how to cook? Much less read and follow directions? Did this recipe come from someone else’s crappy blog, or were you glasses foggy when screwing up this recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking? Julia would roll over in her grave if she saw this monstrosity.

    • Jenn

      Your pretty rude, this turned out delicious. If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it at all. U should be thankful that this person took the time to share this-

  • bliffle

    I suggest that the aspiring cook watch Jacques Pepins “Fast food, My way” to learn how to make delicious French dishes in a modern useful manner.

  • kevn

    Add cold butter at the end to ensure no “breaking”