Here is a lovely way to eat a chicken, fricassee, adapted from the wonderful Italian cookbook Piano Piano Pieno (“slowly, slowly, full”) – the original recipe suggests rabbit, and as tasty as I find rabbit (seriously) chicken is slightly easier to come by in the city, and besides, I’m on a cooking-a-chicken kick anyhow.
Fricassee implies stewing meat stovetop then adding luscious things to the broth to create an extra rich and delicious white sauce. Mine didn’t photograph so well, but it made up for its looks in taste…even so I am going to distract you from the muddledness of the meat with a pretty photograph just in case.
1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 celery stalk
Parsley and rosemary
2 cups of chicken broth
Salt and pepper
For the sauce:
3 egg yolks
Juice of one lemon
First, in a very large pan, Dutch oven, or wok, saute the onion in the oil until it becomes translucent.
Add the pieces of chicken, turning each to brown on all sides.
Tie the carrot, celery and herbs in a bundle and toss them in with the meat. Add 1 cup of the broth as well.
Let simmer, partially covered, until the meat is seriously falling off the bone. It’ll probably take at least an hour, but it’s worth babysitting a bit to see if it’s done faster.
Remove the meat only and throw out the veggies and adjust the pan so that there is about a cup of liquid (if there’s already more, remove a little; if there isn’t that much, add a bit of broth). Whisk the yolks in and then add lemon juice, mixing well.
Next reintroduce the meat, turning each piece to coat in the heavenly-smelling sauce and heat for several more minutes, till the sauce reaches an acceptably decadent thickness… Season to taste and eat immediately.