My French chicken fricassee is weeknight comfort food for those times when you need something cozy and a little creamy but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs braise in no time while also keeping things a little leaner by ditching the chicken skin.
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are one of my go-to ingredients. Boneless chicken thighs have enough fat in them to stand up to any number of different cooking methods (and forgetful cooks who leave them in a little too long…not me of course! 😉 ) while also being quick to cook, easy to dice up or slice, and full of flavor.
Like today’s recipe!
This French-style chicken fricassee is a recipe I’ve been making for a looong time. While I make different versions to change it up, this simple version full of root veggies is one of my my favorites.
I love the creamy sauce. And how quick it is to make. And how it has both meat and vegetables in one pot. And I really love how silky the sauce is when I use egg yolks to thicken it.
I have tried other methods – cornstarch and flour are two common thickeners. And totally use one or the other if using egg yolks is too scary! Curding! EEEK! 😮
However, with the cream in the sauce, I just find egg yolks are the best. Just remember: mind your temper and don’t boil. Good advice for life and for eggs.
So, start a fire, grab a nice glass of wine and enjoy a little French comfort food tonight.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
French Chicken Fricassee with Root Vegetables
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 4-6 thighs
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 cups chicken stock, low or no sodium
- 4 medium carrots, cut into spears
- 4 medium parsnips, cut into spears
- 2-3 sprigs thyme
- 2-3 sprigs parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp butter
- 12 oz egg noodles
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil.
- In a large, deep skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and saute them for 2-3 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Remove the chicken from the pan.
- Add the second tablespoon of olive oil to pan and begin cooking the onions. Add a sprinkle of salt and saute them until they are soft, about 5-7 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with brandy, wait 10 seconds, then add the wine bring to a boil. Boil about 30 seconds and pour in the chicken stock. Add the carrots and parsnips. Tie the thyme, bay leaf, and parsley together with some kitchen string and add it to the skillet (or make a bag from string and cheesecloth). Return the chicken to skillet. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat until you have low simmer. Simmer, partially covered for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are soft.
- Once the fricassee is almost done, add the egg noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain the noodles, keeping 1 cup of the water. Add the noddles back to the pot with the water.
- Remove the chicken and vegetables to a bowl. Remove and discard the herbs. Bring the sauce to a boil and let boil for 5 minutes to reduce it a little. Mix together the cream and egg yolks in a bowl. Take the skillet off the heat. Then begin adding a little of the sauce to the egg yolk mixture while whisking continuously. Continue until you have added about 1 cup of the sauce to the eggs. Then pour the eggs into the skillet while whisking again. While still whisking, bring the sauce back to a very gentle simmer and then take the skillet off the heat.
- Whisk the butter into the sauce and then add back the chicken and vegetables. At this point you can either combine the noodles and fricassee into one pot and warm them together or pour some of the sauce over the noodles but keep the two parts the dish separate. Garnish with fresh parsley.
- Thickening: When thickening with egg yolks it is very important to both temper the eggs (add some of the hot liquid to the eggs before mixing them in) and to keep the heat low after you add them. If the temperature gets much above 160F for more than a few moments you will have a curdled sauce.
- Substitutions: Other root vegetables, like potatoes, winter squash, and turnips are also really nice in this recipe.