A fricassée is a method of cooking meat which is sautéed, and then braised. I put the words sautéed and braised in italics in case those need explaining.
The word sautéed comes from the French and is the past participle of sauter which means to jump. Something is cooked at relatively high heat so it cooks quickly and it is made to jump in the pan. You have probably seen scenes in movies where chefs are tossing something around in the pan. They are sautéeing.
The term braised or to braise also comes from the French and means the same thing, which is to sear meat and then add liquid (cover about 3/4 of the meat) and simmer it until it is tender.
So, getting back to our fricassée, what we are doing is searing meat and then adding liquid and simmering until fork tender. Voilà, as the French say. That is all there is to it!
I like chicken tenders for a nice fricassée because it can be cut in neat little cubes and combined with other things.
Chicken Artichoke Fricassée with Roasted Potatoes
- 2 lbs. chicken tenders
- flour for dusting
- salt & pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups chicken broth
- sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
- 2 fresh sprigs of rosemary
- 6-8 small potatoes
- 1 jar (12 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts
The best method I have found to dust pieces of meat for sautéeing is to put 1/4 cup of flour into a plastic bag, insert the meat pieces and shake coating them evenly. Remove from the the plastic bag one by one shaking off excess flour.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
- In a heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium high heat and brown the chicken pieces. Pick up the skillet by the handle and toss the skillet around & up and down which will make the meat pieces jump (sauter).
- When the chicken is nicely browned, add the chicken broth to the skillet and turn the heat up for 2-3 minutes and then cover the pan and reduce the heat to simmer. (Add the optional sun-dried tomato pieces)
- Cut the potatoes in 4. They should be about the size of the chicken pieces. Place them on a baking sheet and bake them in the pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, the chicken should be braising and making a sauce as the flour combines with the broth. Add more broth or water if it seems too thick.
- Add the jar of marinated artichoke hearts (liquid and all) and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes to blend the flavors but not so long as to allow the artichoke hearts to break up.
- Remove from heat and run the back of a spatula under the fricasée to dislodge bits.
- Remove the roasting potatoes from the oven, stir into the fricasée and transfer to a serving platter.