Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chicken Fricassee with Red Cabbage

You know, Marcella isn't lying when she says that Italian food is often unattractive. I mean, just look at the above. But then she also says she cooks for flavour, and in this case I can attest to it. Who would have thought that half a red cabbage, simmered with some onion, garlic and red wine, would form a beautiful sauce for a tender chicken? Well that's what we have here.

As usual you need to start with your ingredients.

Next thing is to cook the onions and the garlic. I've had trouble before with the onions getting too brown before the garlic does. That sounds strange as it is usually the other way around but there you go. I think the way to get around this is to have the heat down pretty low for quite a while. 

Eventually it will look like this. If you burn either the onion or the garlic then throw it all out and start again.

In goes the cabbage.

The cabbage takes 40 or 50 mins. Again, low heat means you won't burn it. You don't want to burn it. Because this dish takes two hours I sometimes cook the cabbage the night (or morning) before I cook the chicken. 

Of course to cook the chicken you need to be able to cut a chicken up.

First thing you need is a good chicken. Buy a free range one - the most expensive you can. And you need a sharp knife. Buy a good one and a sharpener. 

There we go. Easy with a sharp knife. Of course, if you are a good cook you will use the carcass for stock. If you are lazy you give it to the cat.

Either way you then need to wash, dry and brown it. 

So it looks like this. Let it sit while browning Don't stir and stir. A few minutes each side should do it.

After 40 or 50 mins the cabbage was tasting pretty bloody good. So I added my chook and the wine and I was away. I didn't add the breast until the last 10 mins as you can see below. This is the first time I held it out - so it doesn't dry - but to be honest I don't notice it when it's left in. 

In the end it tasted great and looked like a mess. Or as Marcella says, a dense, clinging sauce on your tender chicken. 

I've served this before with crusty bread, it is a treat. Today I was brave and cooked polenta. The chicken was fabulous and tender, the sauce was wonderful. The potenta was a bit crap but that's another story. 

Next time I think I"ll cook it with mash.

Definitely a keeper. 

UPDATE: I've since made it with proper mash and it is fantastic. Forget that polenta crap.


  1. Hey David!

    As I wrote in the pumpkin-risotto post, I tried the chicken with red cabbage two days ago. I did a little research in advance and found out there must have been 2 versions of this recipe, the older one must have been cooked in one pot only. Maybe you could ask Marcella about that. I did the newer version from the book. It was good the evening and even better the next day. Easy to do and rather light. Also because of your praise i did the Alice Waters potato gratin (I found the recipe on amazon). It was also rather light, which suited well to the chicken. Altogether me and my boyfriend liked it. It had a very fine taste. Today I will try the chicken with the olives and cherry tomatoes.

  2. Äh the last post was from Hallali ;)

  3. Hallali
    Thanks for getting back to me. I love the cabbage chicken with buttery mashed potatoes (Marcella has a recipe for that as well.
    Yes the Alice waters gratin from Art of Simple Food just with the garlic clove and milk is what i cook. But for this dish I just need the mashed potatoes. I think Marcella just refined the recipe from one book to the next, and reduced the fat used. I pour a little of the fat in the second pot but not all. Happy cooking David