Friday, March 02, 2007

Chicken fricasse with vinegar

Cooking terms are slippery. In France, a "fricasse" (if I knew how to do an acute accent, I would put it on the "e") is usually a white stew, such as a blanquette. The fricasses in Marcella Hazan's Marcella's Kitchen (o.p. in the UK) would be, according to some other writers, sautes (again, the "e" should have an acute) -- except that there are authorities who insist that the sauce in a chicken saute should not cook with the meat.

This is what I did with the chicken pieces left over after I had roasted the breasts. Serves three.

2 chicken thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings
Sunflower or groundnut oil
Flour, spread on a plate
Salt, black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tsp chopped garlic
3 anchovy fillets
4 tbsp red or white wine vinegar

Heat a thin layer (1 or 2 tbsp) of sunflower or groundnut oil in a frying pan. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, and fry on a medium heat until golden and crisp, turning once. Do this in a couple of batches, if necessary. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate. Season with a little salt, and pepper according to taste.

In a casserole, warm the oil, and throw in the rosemary, garlic and anchovy fillets. When the anchovies have dissolved, pour in the vinegar, and let it simmer for a minute or two. Tip the chicken into the casserole, cover, and cook over a very low heat for about an hour, turning the chicken pieces from time to time.

In a heavy casserole with a tight-fitting lid, the stew should not dry out. If it does, add a tbsp or two of water. You might find that there is more liquid than you want -- about 3 tbsp of concentrated sauce for each person is about right. Transfer the chicken to a plate, and boil the sauce, uncovered, to reduce it.

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