An old fashioned and very French dish, Chicken Fricasee has been called a serving of history! Recipes exist that are said to have been served to Abraham Lincoln. Julia Child and other famous chefs made it. It is not often seen on restaurant menus now, and I had never eaten Chicken Fricasee much less prepared it, but I like saying the name and I was intrigued enough to try it. It was a great success in the Parker house, and has gone on our list of keepers. This is my version, but I found the recipe I started from in Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough’s Ultimate Cookbook. Once more, this was a matter of wanting to use ingredients I already had: chicken thighs, leeks, and mushrooms! This is a fine entree to serve dinner guests.
3 Tablespoons butter
2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 strips bacon, chopped
2 leeks, trimmed, washed, and sliced
8 ounces brown mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 teaspoon dried French tarragon (I used Penzey’s)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon flour
3 cups white wine
In large heavy soup pot, melt butter, add chicken thighs and brown on both sides, turning occasionally. Do this in batches to avoid crowding.
While chicken is browning, add bacon pieces to an iron skillet, cook until browned Add leeks and stir while cooking about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms to this mixture, stir and cook until their liquid cooks off, about 5 more minutes. Sprinkle tarragon, salt, cloves, and pepper over vegetable mixture and stir briefly. Sprinkle on flour, stir, and cook for a few seconds but do not brown flour. Slowly pour in 1 cup of the wine while and scraping up browned bits from pan. When simmering, add to chicken pieces in large pot while stirring with remaining wine. Combine well, bring to simmer and allow to continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until chicken meat is very tender. Serve over white rice.