Monday, January 18, 2010

Fricasseed Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon Juice

I consider myself quite proficient at fricasseed chicken, Hazan style. My favourite Hazan dish is fricasseed chicken with olives and cherry tomatoes from Marcella Cucina. Coincidentally, it is also made with rosemary, garlic and white wine, just like this dish.

Marcella's fricasseeing technique is different between her books, and it shows in the results. The garlic is not put in this dish until the chicken is browned, and no reference is made to it when Marcella refers to the next 2-3 minutes of cooking. This cooking surely must be all about the garlic browning, but it doesn't end up browning as much as it does in the olive dish, and as a result the dish is less pronounced from a garlic perspective.

Similarly this dish has a sprig of rosemary, rather than 2 full chopped tablespoons. Rustic perhaps but again less pronounced from a rosemary perspective.

Finally, Marcella does not drain the fat from the olive chicken before it is served. I suspect she drains almost all the fat/wine mixture (or goodness as it is known in some circles) from this dish to due to the low fat insanity of the 1980s/1990s. Marcella was under a lot of pressure at that time from the increasingly large Americans to reduce the fat in her (mediterranean) dishes and she says that was one of the drivers in Essentials.

As a result there is a lot less lemony sauce - which is the star of this little number - than you would like. You really have to poke around to find it. If I made this one again I think I would ignore the detail of the Essentials method and just squeeze a little lemon juice into the sauce (sorry, fat/wine) at the end. This would mean the garlic and rosemary contribute more and there is more goodness to share and mop up with crusty bread in the Italian fashion.

All things considered I don't think I will make this one again though. Not with the siren call of the olives and cherry tomatoes in the background....


  1. I just love her Fricasseed Chicken with cherry tomatoes and olives too! We don't drain the pan ever and I find that everyone is dying for that last dripping tomato from the pan- I usually serve this dish right by placing the pan on the table and have people serve themselves so that it really feels like a home cooked Italian meal!

    We only have Marcella Cucina - should we get the Essentials book? What are the must-try recipes from Marcella Cucina in your opinion?

    I'm happy I found your blog!

  2. Hi Vivian

    Yes that's exactly how I eat it. We call the sauce 'goodness', which is really just another word for fat. In the old days it was called drippings. It is my favourite Marcella dish so far.

    Well I guess you can see my view of Essentials by reading the posts on this blog. It is not very expensive, and with Amazon you could pick up a copy new or old for not a lot of coin. I think you should buy it and see for yourself. My favourite dish from Essentials would have to be the Fricassed Chicken with Red Cabbage served with mashed potato. You can read all about that in the post. But I'm also fond of simple dishes, such as the cauliflower salad which is just boiled cauliflower with salt, vinegar and olive oil.

    I'm also enjoying her son's books.