Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Maggie's Chicken Fricassee

Good evening everyone! I can't speak for your particular region, but here in the greater Des Moines area we are MELTING. We hit a heat index of 120 degrees today! (With 80% humidity) Yuck! It is waaay too hot to do anything outdoors. It's best just to stay in this evening and relax - or, in our case - cook!

Tonight Maggie took over the kitchen, and she turned to our old kitchen standby - Cook's Bible for the recipe.  This week is sort of humorous - typically, Maggie studies her recipes a few times before cooking them - trying to make sure everything goes perfectly. I, on the other hand, prefer to read it once and just go at it. This week, however, Maggie looked over her recipe once or twice and I studied like crazy for my first foray into French cuisine. Maggie's recipe changes the pace from last night a little bit - it's a little more straightforward, but no less delicious. I'll turn the keyboard over to Maggie and let her share it with you.

The Recipe: Chicken Fricassee
Original Recipe Found In: Cook's Bible

What You'll Need:

2 X Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour
1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
8 Pearl Onions
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Cup Chicken Stock
2 Carrots
2 Celery
2 Cups Frozen Peas
2 Cups White Mushrooms
1/2 Cup Low Fat Yogurt (Plain)
3 Tbsp Chopped Parsley (1/2 tsp. dried)

Yes, as Tyler mentioned, it was rather toasty here in the our neck of the woods and I was hoping that I wouldn't heat up the kitchen too much with my recipe.

I started with my flour, spread out on a plate, seasoned with salt and pepper.  Next, I cut the chicken into bite size pieces and removed any fat that was on the chicken.  I dusted the chicken bits in the flour until they were completely coated.


And coated 

After the chicken was finished, I "crushed" my two garlic cloves.  Now, crushed does not equal minced...and I had to look up how to crush garlic.  Pretty much, it means that you chop your garlic into itty bitty little pieces, then with the knife, smoosh the garlic, I'm assuming to bring out more of the flavor. (Tyler's Note: Correct, as soon as the garlic is broken, a chemical reaction occurs that releases REALLY strong garlic flavors. You have to use the garlic fairly quickly after breaking it to take advantage of the flavor)  I also sliced off the skin from my 8 pearl onions and cut the ends off.  I added these ingredients to a large saucepan that had a tablespoon of vegetable oil in it and heated to low heat.

After these ingredients started to become fragrant, (about 5 minutes), I added my chicken to the garlic/onion mixture.  Whilst this was cooking, I chopped the carrots and celery into small pieces, this helps in the cooking process and helps absorb the flavors of the entire recipe.  After the chicken/garlic/onion mixture cooks for 10 minutes, or the chicken has a little bit of coloring, add the chicken broth slowly, as to not kick up any heated oil or vegetables.  Then add carrots, celery, and the frozen peas (no need to unthaw - they were do that when the whole pot is heated.)  Bring the whole pot up to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

After this, add the mushrooms; I think the white mushrooms help absorb some of the flavor and help the whole recipe congeal.  After this simmers for 10 minutes, stir in the plain yogurt and the parsley.  I used the fresh to dried ratio again, since we have dried herbs on hand.  Finish cooking the pot for three minutes, serve, and enjoy!

You might notice that this is the same pot that was used last night, it's been busy!

The End Result:

This ended up being a tasty little number - all the ingredients blended harmoniously together and everything fit so well.  I have no idea what "fricassee" means, but if it means like a soupy mixture, it fit for my version of the recipe, it was more of a soup than an actual dish.  (Tyler's Note: Fricassee - A stewed dish typically made with chicken)

A couple of trade offs for the recipe though:  I wouldn't add as many peas, two cups is PLENTY, less would probably work more to the recipe's advantage.  I would cut up the onion, give it more of a flavorful aroma (not to mention the onions would be edible) and some small red potatoes would work well as an addition to this recipe.  The recipe definitely needs a side dish to hep round it out - just the fricassee by itself doesn't really work.

Even though this recipe was simple, I'm glad I finally had something that worked.  Hopefully this will help me inspire through my next set of recipes.

Thank you Maggie. Tonight's recipe was a total shift from yesterday's multi-course French undertaking. In the end though, Maggie's dish was very flavorful and delicious. As she noted, small red potatoes and fewer peas would perfect this dish. Other than that - this is a simple recipe at its best. Simple to prepare, simple but efficient flavor combinations and only a few ingredients.

That's all we have for you tonight. I'm back tomorrow with another French inspired recipe. This one is not as involved as the 'Coq Au Vin' but hopefully is just as delicious. Be sure to stop by tomorrow night to see what I'm cooking. Until next time,


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