I love making Fricassees (is that the plural of Fricassee? Fricassai? Fricassoo?). A fricassee, according to Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge as we know it, is a catch-all term that refers to a dish in which meat is browned or stewed in a sauce, often with onions, peppers and garlic, and then served over rice. I always thought it meant you browned the meat first in oil and then stewed it with vegetables. Apparently some people fricassee without browning first. Who knew? What I like about this particular cooking technique is that the “work” part of the meal takes about 20 minutes. The rest of the time the meat is on the stovetop, simmering. You can let it simmer for quite a while whilst you oversee homework, sip a glass of wine, pay your bills, or run away to France leaving a note on the counter for your spouse, children, partner, or neighbors. It’s a no fail dinner.
Chicken Fricassee (serves 6)
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
- 1 whole chicken cut up (4 pounds)
- 2 leeks, cleaned, sliced lengthwise and then diced
- 1 yellow onion, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 garlic clove, finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into long thin slices
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 28-oz can whole plum tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, drained
Heat the grapeseed oil in a large, heavy skillet or soup pot. Brown the chicken on medium-high heat on both sides, about 5-7 minutes per side, until it has a nice golden brown color. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Add the leeks, onion, garlic, red bell pepper, red pepper flakes, and oregano to the pot. Sauté on medium heat until the peppers and onions have softened, 10-12 minutes. Add the white wine and cook for 3-5 minutes. While the wine is cooking make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan so that you get all the nice crusty bits of chicken mixed back into the sauce.
Insert a sharp knife into the open can of plum tomatoes and cut up the tomatoes in the can (seriously – just swoosh the knife around in the can, it works, I promise). Add the plum tomatoes, including their juices, as well as the tomato sauce, the salt, the sugar and the Kalamata olives to the pot. Add back the browned chicken. Simmer over medium-low heat for 60 minutes. Just before serving add the lemon juice. Serve over rice, flat noodles or mashed potatoes.