Serves 4 to 6
Incidentally, Fricassee of chicken was one of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite dishes. This is a delicious, old fashion way to prepare chicken. In times gone buy, it was one of the things you did with an old hen or rooster that had to be cooked a long time to make it tender. Today, since it is almost imposable to find a stewing hen, you don’t have to cook it nearly as long and your grandmother did. Having been raised on a commercial poultry ranch, we had this dish often when I was a kid. It was what my mother did with a laying hen who had outlived her usefulness.
1 large chicken, cut into serving pieces – (be sure to separate the thighs from the legs) *
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder or granules
1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs, - (Italian Seasoning)
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
About 2 tablespoon of olive oil – (chicken fat was traditional but ...)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 stalk of celery, diced
About half a bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 additional teaspoon mixed dried herbs
Chicken stock – (or canned broth)
1 cup cream
Salt and fresh, coarse ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Rinse the chicken parts and pat dry. Place the flour and the next four ingredients in a small paper or plastic bag and shake to mix well. Drop in the chicken pieces a few at a time and shake gently to coat evenly. Set aside. Heat the olive oil or chicken fat in a heavy, deep skillet or Dutch oven and several pieces at a time, brown the chicken on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside. Add the next five ingredients to the pan and sauté over a moderate heat until the onions are pinkish and translucent and the vegetables are hot through. Return the chicken pieces to the pot and pour in just enough chicken stock or broth to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a rapid simmer and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook until quite done but not falling off the bones, about fourth five minutes to an hour. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm. Turn up the heat and cook, stirring frequently until the amount of liquid has reduced by about half. Return the chicken to the pot, pour in the cream and simmer until hot. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Arrange the chicken on a serving plate and pour the sauce over it. You may wish to sprinkle on a bit of extra chopped parsley as garnish. Serve with fresh, hot home made Farmhouse Buttermilk Biscuits.
* Today a standard butchers cut for a chicken will give you four pieces: two legs and thighs, still joined and the breast cut into two pieces. The back pieces will not be included. A farmhouse cut however, which is what I grew up with gives you five breast pieces, (the wishbone, and each side of the remaining breast cut into two pieces), the legs and thighs will be separated, and there will be two back pieces. For this recipe, even if you don’t want to eat the back pieces, which are very tasty, it is a good idea to cook them, as well as the neck and giblets with the rest of the chicken since they will add a lot of flavor to the gravy.