Chicken Fricassee

Old-fashioned but wonderful, this is a perfect example of why classic dishes never die.

You can add the peas directly to the fricassee or serve them on the side. I’m assuming you’ll know how to do this – I’ve not included a recipe.

Serves 6.

1 fryer chicken, about 4 to 4½ pounds, cut into 8 pieces, trimmed of excess fat
1½ to 2 pounds any combination of chicken breasts, legs, and thighs, trimmed of excess fat
1 large Spanish onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 celery stalks, cut into thick julienne
1 pound carrots, peeled, if desired, and cut into thick julienne
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced or chopped
1½ teaspoons dried thyme
2 bay leaves
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white vermouth
5 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves

1. Place a large nonstick skillet or cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat and, when it is hot, add the chicken pieces, one at a time, and cook until well browned, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. This will take at least two to three batches. Transfer the chicken to a large plate and set aside. Discard all but 1 teaspoon of fat.

2. Reheat the pan, add the onion and garlic and cook until they are soft and golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, mushrooms, thyme, and bay leaves, and cook until the carrots begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables, one tablespoon at a time, stirring all the while.

3. When the flour has been completely incorporated, gradually add the vermouth and the broth. Return the chicken to the skillet. Lower the heat to very, very low and cook for 1 to 1½ hours, stirring occasionally. Discard the bay leaves.

4. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

5. Just before serving, add the cream, if desired, and the lemon juice, thyme, and parsley.

From The $50 Dinner Party: 26 Dinner Parties That Won’t Break Your Bank, Your Back, or Your Schedule (Simon & Schuster, 1998)