Mike

Chicken Fricassee

As a child, chicken fricassee was one my favorite dishes my mom would to make for dinner. Her recipe is lost, but I recall her making it in pressure cooker and the ingredients included salt pork and sour cream. Mom grew up in North Mississippi and her recipe seems consistent with recipes outside of South Louisiana. Most definitions describe fricassee as a French stew of various meats with a white gravy though most recipes use chicken. The creole and Cajun versions use a roux as a base, so they tend to be darker than other versions.

Although a fricassee may take up the 3 hours to complete most of the work is done in the beginning. It’s great for a day when you have indoor activities such as laundry or house cleaning on the schedule. I have played around with different recipes over the years and recently took the taste I liked from several and came up with this recipe. I think adding white wine makes a fricassee so much better. You can use boneless chicken, but i find using chicken meat with the bone and skin adds more flavors to the dish.  When done, the chicken is so tender the bone and skin is easily removed if you wish.

Ingredients:

6 large chicken thighs with bone and skin
1 cup bacon drippings or vegetable oil
1 cup flour
2 cups onion, chopped
1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1 cup white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp creole seasoning to taste
Salt to taste
2 Tsp dried Thyme
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

Method:

Heat the oil in large heavy pot.  While the oil is heating, season the thighs well with the creole seasoning and salt and dredge in the flour.  Shake off the excess flour and set aside. When the oil is hot (a little flour sprinkled in the oil should start simmering) brown the chicken on both sides and set aside. Do several batches instead of crowding the pot. You don’t need to cook the thighs all the way at this point.

Once all the chicken is removed drain off about half the oil, try not to loose any of chicken/flour remnants. Gradually whisk in the remainder of the flour until the oil/flour mixture is thick. (This should be about ¾ cup. If not add more.) Whisk the roux until it is the color of peanut butter.  Add the onions and bell pepper and continue to stir well into the roux and until the onions are clear.  Add about a half tbsp of the creole seasoning and garlic as the onions and bell peppers cook.

Add the wine and stir well to avoid lumps and clearing any matter stuck to the bottom of the pot.  Once this is mixed well, simmer for about 5 minutes.  Increase the heat and slowly add the chicken stock.  Again whisking well to avoid lumps.  Bring the mixture to full boil to allow the roux to do its thing which is achieving its thickening power. (It should look thick but still flow off of a spoon.)  Add the bay leaf, thyme, and Worcestershire Sauce.  Taste and the remaining creole seasoning and salt (if needed) to your taste.  Now return the chicken to the pot. It should be mostly submerged.  If not add water to mostly cover the chicken.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 1 ½ hours or until nearly falling of the bone.  Stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the pot.  For a thicker sauce remove the lid for the last 30 minutes.

Serve over rice.


Mediterranean Meat Marinade

Looking for something to go with last weeks hummus recipe? Try grilling chicken thighs, beef kabobs, or lamb after it has been soaking in this marinade overnite. It makes enough for one to two pounds of meat. For beef, I like to add a tablespoon of meat tenderizer. Cut the beef into kabob size, but do not place on kabobs until ready to grill. For chicken, I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs and find they do better if not placed on kabobs. This is awesome on lamb chops.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/8 cup dried mint
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp cummin
2 tsp dried rosemary*
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp dried oregano*
1 tsp salt
dash cinnamon
1 red onion sliced or course chopped

I put the rosemary and oregano in my spice grinder and bump a time or two because I like them a little finer.

Method:

Place meat in a gallon ziplock bag.  Add the onions and mix well.  Add all remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir well.  Pour mixture into bag, mix well, seal and place in refrigerator for at least 24 hours.

If using wooden or bamboo skewers soak in water per label instructions before using.  As mentioned earlier, if using kabobs, skewer just before cooking time.

Remove meat from marinade.  Place on grill over high heat, the hot the better, until meat done to your preference.


Smoked Chicken and Andouille Etouffee

I am pretty much an outdoors type person which means I spend less time in my kitchen during the summer. I still have to eat, so if I am not grilling I tend to prepare dishes that take less to prepare.  Also, during the summer I tend to use a lighter or thinner gravy or sauce. I plan to do a series of dishes that take less preparation time or allow you to spend cooking time outside.

I saw a segment on the Food Network for a similar recipe several months ago. Typically, some type of Louisiana shellfish (crawfish, shrimp or crab) is used to make etouffee. Guy Fieri was visiting a restaurant somewhere in the heartlands that featured some type of chicken etouffee. I suspect the dish was created due to the lack of fresh seafood.  I created this version recently and thought it was good enough to share with y’all. The base ingredients for etouffee are usually onion, bell pepper, roux and broth. I have more complex bases for etouffee, but remember it’s summer so I am keeping this one simple. There are a thousands of base recipes, so if you have a favorite use it.

I happen to be a fan of smoke flavor, so I added a few chicken thighs and andouille sausage to the smoker this weekend. I usually load up the smoker with meat when I fire it up. I figure why not use all the space, it takes the same amount of heat and smoke.

Ingredients

1 pound of smoked boneless skinless chicken thighs (I would have preferred bone and skin on for a little more flavor, but the store was out)
1 pound of smoked andouille sausage chopped (regular link smoked sausage will do if andouille is not available)
1 onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
4 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of water
1-2 tbsp Creole seasoning
1 stick butter
½ cup of powdered roux
4 bay leaves
1 cup rice uncooked

Method

Season the chicken with creole seasoning. Smoke or grill the chicken thighs until done. (This can be cooked ahead of time or as I mentioned, use leftovers).  Leave 6 thighs whole and chop up the rest into bite size pieces.

For the rice, bring 1 cup of water, 1 cup of the chicken stock, two bay leaves and few dashes of creole seasoning to a boil.  Add the rice, when it comes back to a boil stir, cover and set burner to lowest setting.  Remove from heat when the water is gone.

Melt half the butter in a saucepan or high sided skillet. I like a black iron pot. Add the onions and bell pepper and sauté until clear, add the andouille.  When the andouille is heated up and begins to brown, mix the powdered roux into the  pot. Once all is mixed well, add the remaining butter.  When the butter has melted add the remaining 3 cups of broth one cup at a time. Stir well as you add the broth. Add the two bay leaves. Let this slow simmer at least 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the 6 whole thighs to the etouffee. Let the chicken and etouffee swap flavors for 5 to 10 minutes.

Presentation

Spoon a serving of rice into a bowl.  Place a whole chicken thigh on top of the rice, then spoon the etouffee over the thigh and rice.

Serves 6

Smoked Chicken and Andouille Etouffee