Somewhere between a stew and an elegant cream chicken sauté reflects a fricassee.
A true classic -- with as many variations as there are grandmothers in France -- it relies on humble ingredients and just a single pot. It's the original French comfort food: simmered chicken with hearty vegetables in a rich, silky sauce. I am sure John Scalzi and Don Brennan will agree-
· 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), cut into 11 pieces (reserve back and wing tips for another use, such as stock)
· Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
· 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
· 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
· 1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 cup)
· 1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
· 1 celery stalk, cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/3 cup)
· 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
· 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
· 2/3 cup dry white wine
· 4 cups chicken broth
· 2 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
· 2 sprigs fresh thyme
· 1 bay leaf
· 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
· 1/4 cup heavy cream
· 2 to 3 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh tarragon leaves
· 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Season chicken on both sides with 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Preheat a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and the oil to pot. When butter melts and foam subsides, add half the chicken, skin side down, in a single layer; do not crowd pot. (If butter begins to blacken, lower heat.) Fry chicken, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total, and transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining chicken.
Reduce heat to medium, and add mirepoix (onion, carrot, and celery) to pot, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Saute mirepoix, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown in places, 8 to 10 minutes.
Cook Mushrooms and Flour
Add mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms darken, become glossy, and begin to release liquid, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in flour, and cook until flour is absorbed by vegetables and is no longer visible, about 1 minute.
Pour in Wine and Broth
Add wine to pot, and bring to a boil, stirring until liquid just thickens, about 45 seconds. Add broth, and stir.
1. Simmer ChickenPlace chicken, skin side up, in a single layer on vegetables; pour juices that have accumulated on plate into pot. Tie parsley sprigs, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf together with kitchen twine; add to pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover partially. Cook until internal temperature of thickest part of chicken registers 165 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to a clean plate. Simmer liquid, uncovered, until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Discard herbs.
2. Make and Add Liaison
3. To make the liaison (sauce thickener), whisk together egg yolks and cream in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, pour 1/2 cup cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, into liaison to temper it. Stir tempered liaison into pot.
4. Finish with Tarragon, Lemon, and Butter Return chicken to pot. Add tarragon, lemon juice, and the remaining butter. Bring to a simmer, stir gently to combine, and serve.