Chicken is always having a moment, so what's more gratifying on a crisp autumn evening than a hearty chicken stew? Nothing, especially if it’s braised in a crisp, dry white wine sauce.
In France, like in many places where the chicken migrated, you’re bound to run into a myriad number of chicken dishes, from the classic roast chicken of Parisian bistros to a coq au vin in a countryside restaurant. But did you know that the latter is a type of fricassée? In this technique, the chicken is cut up into pieces, sautéed in butter, then braised in a wine sauce, a delicious combination of cooking methods that produces a comforting meal for you and your guests.
In this recipe, there’s no flour, an ingredient found in the classic country recipes in France. Also, here I suggest you remove the chicken pieces from the Dutch oven or cocotte once the chicken is out of the oven, but you can also let it cool slightly in the sauce.
Bear in mind that this is a meal that requires some planning and time management on your part but it's easier to execute than you think. Because, aren’t the most delicious things in life worth the effort?
Chicken Fricassée, Kale-Chard, and Oyster Mushrooms
Serves 6-8 people
For the chicken:
For the kale-chard:
For the oyster mushrooms:
Season the chicken pieces with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large Dutch oven or cocotte set over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter and melt. Once it bubbles, add the 3 or 4 pieces of chicken to the pan, skin-side down, without crowding (you will have to work in batches). Cook until the chicken is browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with a second batch of chicken, after which you will need to add 1 tablespoon of fresh butter to continue browning the remaining chicken.
Once all the chicken pieces have been browned, carefully pour the fat from the Dutch oven or cocotte and return to the heat. Add 1 tablespoon of fresh butter and melt. Add the shallots and cook until soft and slightly caramelized, about 4 minutes. Pour in the dry white wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated and the wine has reduced, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken stock and heavy cream and stir to combine and deglaze the bottom of the pan. Season with salt to taste. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
Remove the lid and stir the cream sauce and adjust the seasoning. Place the chicken back into the Dutch oven with the cream sauce and cover. Transfer the cocotte to the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest piece of chicken registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meanwhile, wash and rinse the purple kale and Swiss chard. Remove the leaves from the stems using your hands and separate the leaves from the stems. With your hands, tear the leaves into wide pieces, making sure they are not too small. Next, cut the stems into roughly 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
Clean and separate the oyster mushrooms and gently tear them into smaller pieces; they should look like wide swan feathers. Set aside.
Set a saute pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil shimmers, working in batches, add the kale-chard leaves, season to taste with kosher salt and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the cooked leaves from the pan, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Repeat with the remaining kale-chard leaves, adding the remaining tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil as needed.
Next, cook the kale-chard stems: in the same pan, add olive oil as needed, before placing the stems. Season to taste with kosher salt, cover, and cook until soft, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
Wipe the pan clean and set it over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Once the oil shimmers, add the oyster mushrooms (you may have to work in batches). Season to taste with kosher salt and add the fresh thyme leaves. Stir, cover and cook until the mushrooms have softened and released some of their moisture, about 6-8 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
When the chicken is ready, remove from the oven and uncover. Insert a thermometer into the thickest piece of chicken; the temperature should register 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken pieces and place on a baking sheet to cool slightly.
In a large, deep serving platter, place the kale-chard leaves and distribute evenly, followed by the kale-chard stems. Next, add the cooked oyster mushrooms in a similar layer over the kale-chard.
If desired, carefully strain the cream-wine sauce to remove the shallots. If not, simply pour out the sauce into container and set aside.
Place the chicken pieces over the mushrooms-kale-chard for presentation. Pour the warm cream sauce over the chicken, leaving some in the container to pass around to guests. Serve immediately.
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