Chicken fricassee is a classic dish that combines the best that French cuisine has to offer. There are notes of butter, cream, and white wine, which are some of the most classic flavors in French cooking. This is a braised chicken recipe but stewed in a rich cream sauce along with vegetables.
French cuisine has always been one of my absolute favorites because of the rich and exquisite dishes that they’ve created. The recipes are often complimented with notes of butter, wine, cream, cheese.
This chicken dish encompasses wonderful rich favors of butter, white wine, and cream thickened with flour. The chicken is soft, tender, and has an amazing flavor from braising in the white wine cream sauce for about an hour. As you may remember, braising is a cooking method when you first sear the meat at high temperature, and then cook it slowly in liquid sauce.
What is Chicken Fricassee?
This is a traditional French dish that combines tender braised/stewed chicken with vegetables and a rich white wine cream sauce! It’s a ultimate comfort food but you can enjoy it year-round.
The French word fricassee actually has two meanings. First, it describes a method of cooking that falls somewhere between braising and stewing.
Fricassee is also the name for the dish itself. In this case, you first sear chicken and vegetables at high heat and then slowly cook them in liquid, similar to a stew. Finally, you finish the dish with cream to make an amazing, velvety chicken dish!
Ingredients For Chicken Fricassee
- Chicken – Traditionally, you would use a whole chicken and break it down yourself. (Learn how to break down chicken yourself here!) It’s best to use bone-in chicken for fricassee, so if not using a while chicken, opt for chicken drumsticks or bone-in thighs.
- Vegetables – Onions, carrots, and mushrooms are traditional vegetables. Feel free to swap out some of the vegetables, but don’t use anything soft or that releases a lot of liquid when cooked.
- Cream – This is a key ingredient since the essence of the dish is that velvety finish.
- White wine – Because wine a very specific flavor to the sauce, no replacement will taste quite the same. However, if must, additional stock or a lesser amount of white grape juice can be used to make this dish alcohol free.
- Flour – use regular all-purpose flour to thicken the dish and if you need to make it gluten free, use gluten free all-purpose flour.
It’s always best to prep all of your ingredients first, before starting to cook. So cut the vegetables, break down the chicken, and measure out the liquids and dry ingredients.
Can I use other vegetables?
You can always add some potatoes right into the pot with other vegetables. Choose baby gold potatoes and cut them in half.
Peas and haricots verts (French green beans) will also be a great addition to this stew but note that they will be soft at the end.
Personally, I also like to add cauliflower and/or broccoli. Or, serve it on a bed of steamed cauliflower and broccoli.
How To Make Chicken Fricassee
For best results, use a Dutch Oven or cast iron pan to prepare Chicken Fricassee.
Preheat your pan. This recipe works best in a Dutch oven or large cast iron skillet since both retain heat better and cook more evenly than other cookware. It’s important to heat the pan before adding the chicken in order to get a nice sear.
Brown chicken thighs. Cook on both sides in melted butter until golden brown, then remove to a plate while you continue. (Work in batches if you have to, so chicken doesn’t get overcrowded.)
Sauté the aromatic vegetables. Add the onion, celery, and carrots to the pan and cook until they turn a nice golden color. These create the base of flavor for the entire sauce.
Add the mushrooms. Next, cook the mushrooms with the other vegetables until soft and darkened in color. Stir occasionally but not too often, and make sure to keep everything spread out in the pan.
Coat vegetables in flour. Sprinkle the flour over the entire pan. Stir, and be sure to coat the vegetables evenly.
Deglaze the pan. Pour in the wine while slowly stirring the vegetables to prevent the flour from clumping. Be sure to scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan as well.
Add stock and seasoning. Stir in the remaining liquid and spices until everything is well combined.
Simmer the chicken. Place the chicken pieces back in the pan, including any liquids that came out of the chicken, making sure to nestle it into the liquid. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and cook.
Finish the sauce. Finally, add heavy whipping cream and mix gently until combined. Simmer for another minute or two before serving.
- Storage: Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight food storage container for 3 to 4 days. I don’t recommend freezing chicken fricassee because the sauce will become unpleasant when thawed and reheated.
- Reheating: You can reheat everything at the same time of individual portions. For individual portions, reheat it in a microwave in increments of about 45 seconds, until heated through. You can reheat everything at the same time on stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through.
- Need to prep ahead? If you know you’ll be short on time, you can chop all of your vegetables the day before and store them covered in the refrigerator. You can also break down a whole chicken at any time and freeze the pieces for later. Just pull out what you need the night before and let it thaw in the refrigerator.
- Best white wine for cooking. Chardonnay is a common choice because of its versatility, but any not sweet variety with a high acidity will do. These are crisp wines, including varieties such as Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Chicken Fricassee is best to serve with rice, noodles or other pasta, mashed potatoes, or gnocchi. Don’t forget the Baguette to soak up all that wonderful sauce!
MORE RECIPES TO TRY:
Chicken Stroganoff is another delicious dish inspired by French cuisine. The sauce is made with sour cream instead of heavy cream for extra tangy flavor.
For another creamy chicken classic, try my Chicken Alfredo. Everything is made from scratch, but it’s still done in about 30 minutes!
Or, Creamy Chipotle Pepper Chicken Thighs is exactly what you need when looking for a spicy twist. It has plenty of heat from chipotle peppers in adobo, but the flavors are balanced with plenty of bell peppers and onions.
- 4-4 1/2 lb whole chicken or chicken legs or thighs
- cracked black pepper
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 shallots
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 celery ribs
- 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 tbsp all purpose flour
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- Prepare all your ingredients first.
- Break down the chicken and season it with some salt and pepper (save the wings and back bone to make homemade chicken stock). Click here for instructions and a video on how to break down a whole chicken.
- Chop the vegetables and set it aside. Measure remaining ingredients and set them aside as well.
- Preheat a large, 12-inch, skillet or a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Melt butter and sear chicken on both sides until golden brown. Take it out and set aside.
- Add onion, carrots, and celery to the pan and let them sear as well.
- Once you got some golden color on the vegetables, add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are softened.
- Lower the heat to medium and sprinkle flour over the vegetables and stir to coat them evenly.
- Pour in white wine while slowly stirring and mixing the vegetables.
- Pour in chicken stock and add seasoning.
- Nestle chicken back into the pan, cover, and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes. Chicken should reach 165° internal temperature. Make sure to take the temperature of the thickest piece of chicken.
- Once chicken is done, pour in heavy whipping cream and gently mix it in. Bring everything to simmer and take off heat!
- Enjoy this dish with a side of fluffy rice!