Recipe: Tarragon Chicken Fricassee

Winter has finally dipped its pinky toe down South, y'all, and we've been celebrating with nightly fire pits and lots of extra calories. To heck with New Year's resolutions when its cold outside, right!

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That's not saying this Tarragon Chicken Fricassee is downright sinful, but it sure does warm the bones. And the "splash" of heavy cream at the end doesn't exactly hurt. But what is a fricassee exactly? According to Julia Child, a fricassee is technically something between a saute and a stew. In a fricassee, however, the meat is first cooked in butter before any liquid is added. So like a braise, I guess. But that's where the culinary lines start to get a little bit blurry. All I know is that it's good.

I fell in love with this recipe in culinary school; unfortunately it isn't the type of dish you make in the Los Angeles heat on a regular basis. Now that we are in Atlanta and winter is upon us, bring it on. It made for a perfect Sunday night meal for the long holiday weekend.

I served it with a batch of egg noodles (for me) and white rice (for the beau), and paired it with a side of buttery green beans. We washed it down with the same champagne I used in the sauce—because one of the perks of getting engaged is a newly stocked fridge full of bubbly. As for tomorrow, I'll pair it with a salad and call it lunch. And who knows, maybe I'll even have another glass of champagne.

I'm so glad chicken fricassee is back in my regular rotation. What's your go-to dish when it's cold outside?

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Tarragon Chicken Fricassee

Serves 8

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces and patted dry
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 onion, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup white wine or champagne
2 cups chicken stock
4-5 sprigs fresh tarragon
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat two tablespoons of butter in a large braising pan over medium to medium-high heat. Coat each chicken piece in flour, tapping to remove excess, and add to the pan. Generously season the pieces with salt and pepper. Cook, flipping occasionally, until the chicken is lightly golden but not browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the pan. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to high, pour in the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the stock, chicken pieces, and tarragon sprigs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chicken is very tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and tent with aluminum foil.

Increase the heat to high and reduce the cooking liquid by half; then turn heat to low. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cream. Whisk a few tablespoons of the hot chicken liquid into the egg yolk mixture, then pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Stir the minced tarragon and lemon juice into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with egg noodles or cooked white rice. Garnish with additional tarragon leaves, if desired.

Related: Recipe: 30-Minute Coq au Vin

(Images: Nealey Dozier)

Per serving, based on 8 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
518
Fat
36.2 g (55.8%)
Saturated
13.7 g (68.5%)
Trans
0.3 g
Carbs
9.2 g (3.1%)
Fiber
0.3 g (1%)
Sugars
1.1 g
Protein
34.4 g (68.8%)
Cholesterol
161 mg (53.7%)
Sodium
212.2 mg (8.8%)

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Nealey Dozier is a former wedding planner turned chef, culinary instructor, recipe developer, and food writer. She is based in Atlanta. You can find more of her Southern adventures in eating and entertaining at www.dixiecaviar.com.