This is the month of Presidents - we celebrate the birthdays of two very notable presidents, Washington and Lincoln, and even have a Presidents Holiday. Lincoln is one of my favorite presidents - a very simple and down to earth man. Abraham Lincoln's wife, Mary tried everything to make Abe eat, but was frustrated time and again to see the finest foods left all but untouched on his plate. One of the few entrees that would tempt Lincoln was Chicken Fricassee. He would like the chicken cut into small pieces, fried with seasonings and served with a gravy made of the chicken drippings. A Treasury of White House Cooking!
Yields: 4 Servings
1 small onion
2 cups julienned carrots
1 stick celery cut in pieces
2-4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons flour
1 ½ pounds chicken with the bone (thighs, breasts, or drumsticks)
1 ½ cups chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
Mashed potatoes, cooked rice, or cooked noodles
Peel and slice onion into rings, set aside; peel and slice carrots, set aside; clean, trim and cut celery into pieces, set aside.
Place paprika, poultry seasoning, garlic salt, pepper and flour in a gallon ziploc bag, shake to mix and set aside. Remove skin from chicken if desired, cut into pieces if needed, place chicken in bag with spices and shake to coat well. Set aside.
Melt 1-2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a heavy 10-12 inch skillet or Dutch oven with a lid. Add onions and saute until onions begin to brown and caramelize. Remove onions from pan, cover and set aside
Add 1-2 tablespoons butter to drippings in pan, (if skin is removed from chicken, use 2-tablespoons) return heat to medium. Remove chicken from flour bag and place in skillet, skin side down. Brown well, turn and brown opposite side (4-6 minutes). Add caramelized onions, carrots and celery to chicken; add ½-cup chicken stock; cover, bring to a boil (add additional broth as needed during cooking, to pan to prevent chicken from burning dry); reduce heat to medium low and simmer 20-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and vegetables from pan and place on a bed of cooked noodles, rice or mashed potatoes; cover to keep warm.
Bring remaining drippings to a boil, whisk in heavy cream; bring back to a bubble. Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle gravy over chicken.
What is Chicken Fricassee?
Generally chicken, sauted in butter then stewed with vegetables. Although it is French in origin, Abe Lincoln grew up on the frontier - that means it was a simple dish with ingredients on hand, making it a standby comfort food.
Tips to Make a Flavorful Fricassee
Caramelize onions in butter until they begin to caramelize. Remove and keep warm.
Dredge chicken pieces in flour and seasoning. I use poultry seasoning, garlic salt, smoked paprika and a little black pepper. Lincoln is supposed to have enjoyed Fricassee with a little nutmeg added. Add chicken pieces and shake the bag to coat chicken well. Place chicken pieces in skillet to brown.
Stew browned chicken with flavorful veggies. Add onions and vegetables, chicken broth, cover and simmer until tender and the chicken is cooked.
Make gravy from the drippings. Whisk heavy cream into the drippings and bring back to a bubble. Drizzle the gravy over chicken.