JULIA’S FRICASSEE DE POULET A L’ANCIENNE (for four)
2-1/2 pounds ready-cut frying chicken (a selection of parts, or all one kind), thoroughly dried
salt and pepper
16 to 20 small white onions, peeled
3 tablespoons flour
1 quart (3/4 pound) fresh mushrooms, trimmed, washed or quartered
3 to 4 tablespoons butter, plus an optional 2 to 3 tablespoons butter for enrichment
½ teaspoon tarragon
2 cups dry white wine or 1-1/2 cups dry white French vermouth
about 2 cups low salt chicken broth
about ½ cup heavy cream
drops of fresh lemon juice
1. Over moderate heat cook the butter in a large, heavy frying pan until foaming. Add the chicken pieces and turn frequently in the butter for several minutes, regulating heat so that the chicken does not brown. The meat should stiffen slightly in contrast to its squashy raw state and become a golden yellow.
2. Then season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, add the tarragon and place the onions around the chicken. Cover and cook slowly 10 minutes, turning once. Uncover the pan and sprinkle on the flour, turning chicken and onions in the flour so that it is absorbed. Cook 3 to 4 minutes more turning once or twice.
3. Remove from the heat and gradually stir and swirl in the wine and enough chicken broth to almost cover the chicken. Cover the pan and simmer slowly 20 to 25 minutes, then test the chicken. Remove those pieces that are tender and continue cooking the rest a few minutes longer. If onions are not quite tender, continue cooking them, then return all chicken to the pan, add the mushrooms, and simmer 4 to 5 minutes. Taste carefully and correct the seasoning.
4. Add the cream and bring to a simmer, thinning out if necessary with spoonfuls more cream until the sauce coats chicken and vegetables lightly. Correct seasoning again, adding drops of lemon juice to taste.
5. To serve immediately arrange chicken and vegetables on a platter, surrounded by rice or whatever else you are including. Swirl the optional butter enrichment into the sauce and spoon the sauce over the chicken. For later serving, baste the chicken with its sauce, let it cool, uncovered, to room temperature and then cover and refrigerate. To reheat, simmer slowly, covered. Baste and turn the chicken every 2 minutes until thoroughly warmed through (6 to 8 minutes), but do not overcook.
adapted From Julia Child’s Kitchen