Chicken Fricassee | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Chicken Fricassee

Chicken Fricassee

Serves 4 to 6

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Likely invented as a way to serve the boiled chicken that results from making chicken soup, chicken fricassee is a homey, comforting dish. It was the only chicken dish that Gaby’s mother, Erna, ever made, and we have fond memories of eating her version. In a bit of alchemy, it combines additional flavors (the bright- ness of lemon, the sharpness of capers, and the umami quality of mushrooms bound together in a white sauce) to lift the blandness of boiled chicken to new heights.

This is a utilitarian recipe whose name adopts the French word both in Ger- many and in the United States, where chicken fricassee is well known. The name refers to a dish of stewed meat and vegetables that is bound together with a sauce, in most cases a roux-based white sauce. What marks this recipe as being Jewish is the fact that the roux—traditionally made with butter, and sometimes milk—is made without dairy here.

This is a very flexible recipe that can be made with any cooked chicken and broth you have on hand. If you use packaged chicken broth, be sure to adjust the amount of salt to taste.


½ pound white mushrooms, cleaned

1 teaspoon plus 3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil or duck, goose, or chicken fat, divided

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2½ cups chicken broth

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon paprika, sweet or hot

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Pinch of ground white pepper

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon brined capers, drained

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided

½ cup fresh peas, shelled, or frozen peas

1 egg yolk, beaten

3 cups cooked chicken, cut into ½-inch cubes


1. Trim a thin slice off the bottoms of the mushroom stems. If the mushrooms are very small, cut them into quarters. If they are large, slice thinly crosswise. In a medium-size skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the fat over medium- high heat, and add the mushrooms. Decrease the heat to medium and cook until the mushrooms give up their liquid, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove them from the heat and set aside.

2. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons fat in a 3- or 4-quart heavy-bottomed pot. Sprinkle in the flour, whisking to remove any lumps. Slowly add the chicken broth, ½ cup at a time, whisking all the while. Two cups ought to be enough to bring the sauce to the desired consistency, like that of heavy cream. But if it is still too thick, you can add up to ½ cup more broth by the tablespoon, stirring after each addition until the sauce has reached the desired consistency. Add the nutmeg, paprika, kosher salt, white pepper, lemon juice, capers, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, and the peas. Whisk in the egg yolk. Add the mushrooms and the chicken and stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and heat the dish over medium-low heat until the chicken is warm.

3. Place the fricassee in a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon parsley. Serve over rice, noodles, or Spätzle.

Excerpted from THE GERMAN-JEWISH COOKBOOK: Recipes and History of a Cuisine by Gabrielle Rossmer Gropman and Sonya Gropman, published by Brandeis University Press.