Fricasseed Chicken with bay leaves
- 1/2 chicken (half of a 3.5 pound chicken, cut into 4 pieces)
- 1 T extra virgin olive oil
- 57 g finely chopped onion
- 1 T chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1/2 finely chopped celery (stalk)
- 1 cloves garlic (lightly mashed with the handle of a knife and peeled)
- 2 bay leaves
- freshly ground black pepper
- 50 mL chicken stock (or dry white wine)
1. Wash the chicken pieces in cold water and pat thoroughly dry with paper towel.
2. Choose a saute pan or frying pan in which the chicken pieces can later fit in a single uncrowded layer, without overlapping. Put in the olive oil and the onion, turn on the heat to medium high and cook the onion, stirring frequently, until it becomes colored a light gold.
3. Add the parsley, celery, and garlic; cook for about a minute, stirring frequently.
4. Put in the chicken pieces, skin side down. Brown them well, then turn them and brown the other side. Add the bay leaves, salt, and a generous grinding of black pepper, turning over all the contents of the pan with a wooden spoon.
5. When the chicken pieces have been deeply browned on all sides, add the stock (or wine). While you let it bubble away completely, scrape loose with your wooden spoon any browning residues stuck to the pan. When the wine's alcohol has completely evaporated - you can smell it going - put a lid on the pan and turn down the heat to very low.
6. Turn the chicken pieces from time to time and, if the juices in the pan should become insufficient to keep the chicken from sticking, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Cook until the meat comes easily away from the bone, about 45 minutes. Serve piping hot.
Ahead of time note: You can make it a full day in advance. Reheat gently, but thoroughly, adding a tablespoon or two of water if necessary.
Note from source: The foundation for the particularly spirited flavor of this chicken is the preliminary saute of onion, parsley, celery, and garlic in olive oil. It has to be performed vigorously, at lively heat, to cause the aromas to bloom and impregnate the oil. Take care, however, not to let the garlic get dark. When the base is ready, the chicken pieces are browned in it, together with bay leaves and wine (stock), and once that flavor bond has been fastened, you can proceed to cook the bird at slower heat until it achieves complete tenderness.
SJ Note 26 Apr 2011: FABULOUS!!! I made it with boneless skinless chicken breasts this time because that's what I had on hand, and it was the MOST MOIST white meat I've *ever* had - and delicious, too! This one's definitely a keeper!
SJ Note 28 Apr 2012: Still produces lovely moist white chicken meat, but I'm really unconvinced the onion, parsley, celery, and garlic does anything other than burn in the pan while searing the chicken. Will try leaving all that out next time, and perhaps marinating the chicken to give it more flavor.