Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Fricassee Chicken

When I say that I grew up on this, I'm not kidding. My mom used to make fricassee chicken at least every other week. The smell of it takes me straight back to my childhood, even now. The recipe comes from my Jah-Po (grandmother), but, naturally, throughout both her and my mom's lifetimes, it went through some changes along the way.

It's one of those recipes that never touched paper, but was passed on simply by through lessons in the kitchen. When I asked my mom for the recipe, she warned me that there are no real measurements, no 'cups' or 'tablespoons'. Those are the kind of recipes I love, but I wanted to share it, so I've done my best to put it in terms that are a bit more specific than 'a bit of this and a bit of that'.

The habanero (scotch bonnet, according to my family) adds a Jamaican flavour to the dish. If you don't want it too spicy, don't pop the pepper! Or, to be safe, feel free to leave it out altogether.

Fricassee Chicken
serves 8

  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • Pinch of ginger
  • Pinch of all spice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 3 medium potatoes, cut into 1" squares
  • 1 large carrot (or a handful of baby carrots), chopped into 1" cubes
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch + 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 scotch bonnet
Place thighs in a large bowl. Mix with soy sauce, onion, garlic, thyme, ginger, all spice, salt and pepper until coated.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add chicken thighs, skin side down, working in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan. Sear on both sides, about 3 minutes each side.

Remove chicken from pan. Deglaze with 1/2 cup water. Return chicken to the pan along with the cherry tomatoes, onions and any sauce leftover. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.

After 20 minutes, add potatoes, carrots and scotch bonnet. Cook for another 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked and the potatoes are soft.

Make a slurry by mixing 1 tbsp each of water and corn starch in a small bowl or cup. Add to the pan and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened.

If you want more gravy, add more water (any type of stock would work here too).

Serve over rice (Jasmine is my favourite).