Tuesday, May 4, 2010

On to France

Okay, break’s over. Time to visit a little place Europe known for its fancy cuisine, high fashion and expensive wine. France is on the rather long list of places I have not yet been and want to go. Not for any of the reasons mentioned above (well…maybe the food), but just because it is so beautiful. The photo at left may not be a typical representation of France, but I liked it far better than a shot of the Eiffel Tower or an outdoor café. And if I go, I’d rather see the French countryside than Paris.

Our virtual visit to France begins with a recipe that not only sounds delicious, but is fun to say. Rich and chock full of calories, Chicken Fricassee combines, chicken, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, wine and cream for a dish you won’t soon forget. Fricassee is a cooking method where the meat and/or vegetables are browned lightly in butter, sprinkled with flour and than cooked in bouillon or wine, resulting in a flavorful sauce. You’ll notice this recipe calls for fresh Tarragon. Remember that when replacing fresh herbs with dried, you substitute approximately 1 tablespoon of dried herbs for 3 tablespoons of fresh.

Fricassée de Poulet
(Chicken Fricassee)

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced or crushed
1 1/2 pounds skinned chicken breasts, cubed in bite sized pieces
(I prefer dark meat and would use thighs. Also, cubing the chicken is optional.)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 pound mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/4 inch
3 medium carrots, scraped and julienned in 1/4 inch wide strips
3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 cup crème fraîche or whipping cream
(for a crème fraiche recipe, go to

Melt the butter and olive oil together in a Dutch oven or other heavy large skillet on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and crushed garlic and cook for five minutes stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and brown on all sides - about five minutes. Stir in salt and pepper. Sprinkle the top of the chicken with the flour and stir for 1 minute, thoroughly coating the chicken with the flour. Stir in the water and wine and then the prepared mushrooms, carrots and tarragon. Bring to a low boil, cover and simmer on medium low heat for 15 minutes or just until the vegetables are cooked as you like them.
Turn off the heat and stir in the crème fraîche or whipping cream. Serve hot. Makes 6 servings.

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