I remember asking one of my teachers at the London Cordon Bleu Cookery, the legendary Rosemary Hume, what a fricassee was and she came up with such a complicated reply, that I have never actually known what it is. My French dictionary this morning gives the English description of fricassee, so no help there. However my trusty Penguin dictionary says it is a stew of chicken or rabbit in a white sauce. So now we know. This sauce is one of the very French tasting sauces which is given a splash of vinegar adding a lovely side issue to the dish.
So I will call it
Willow Creek Chicken Fricassée
What you’ll need…
16 pieces chicken thighs, skin on bone in
Walnut sized piece of butter
Swirl of Willow Creek Garlic infused EVOO
2 large onions – finely chopped
4 fat cloves of garlic, microplaned
3 Bay Leaves – we have two large trees in our garden
1 heaped Tbs Dried French Tarragon
150ml Willow Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Balsamic Vinegar
300ml dry white wine
750ml chicken stock
300ml Double Cream
Kneaded Butter – equal parts soft butter and flour made into a paste
Flat leafed parsley
What you’ll do…
Lay the chicken out on a tray. Season with flakes of sea salt and grinds of black pepper.
Heat over gentle heat a large nonstick frying pan. Pour a good slick of the olive oil into the pan and when it heats up swirl in the butter. Brown the pieces, skin side first, slowly [and patiently] until the skin is browned lightly. Remove to a roasting dish in a single layer.
If you feel you have too much oil in the pan, pour off some. Add the onions and cook gently until soft and starting to colour, add the garlic, bay leaves and tarragon, fry for a short while. Add the vinegar and reduce to about a quarter. Add the wine and reduce by half. Pour in the chicken stock and the cream and bring to the boil. Pour over the chicken pieces and make sure the bay leaves are covered in the sauce. Bake in the oven for at least 40 minutes or until cooked. Remove the chicken to a hot platter.
Reduce the sauce a little by boiling. Add sufficient kneaded butter to get the sauce to the kind of thickness you need.
Taste for seasoning. Pour over the chicken and garnish with leaves of parsley.
Serve with steamed Basmati rice and a green vegetable.
Kneaded Butter. We make this up by making a paste of equal parts of flour and very soft butter. We then roll it into a sausage shape in clingwrap and freeze the roll. You can make up ore than you need and it will keep forever. It is so handy for thickening sauces or soups. The French call it beurre manié.
Willow Creek’s Olive products continue to take medals at international olive oil competitions.
Visit the Willow Creek Olive Estate – CLICK HERE
Michael’s wine recommendation – Belfield Magnifica 2013