What we have here is yet another recipe from the magnificent Picayune Creole Cook Book. I should start with a quote from the book itself about this dish: “It is a simple, elegant dish, within the means of everyone.” At least everyone who has a chicken in their pot. We always refer to this dish as just “Brown Sauce Chicken.”
I am going to get all Frenchified on you, as the cookbook gives the recipe names in both English and French. This is also “Fricassée de Volaille, Sauce Brune.” This is an important distinction as a Fricassee is a distinctive method of cooking.
The original recipe uses a whole chicken cut up, including the liver, heart, and gizzards, so think of this as a chicken cooked in its own giblet gravy. Mine is a simpler version for two people, as usual.
Stewed Chicken, Brown Sauce
1 Chicken Breast, preferably bone in and skin on
1 Tablespoon Lard, Oil, or Butter
1 Tablespoon Flour
1 sprig Thyme and Parsley
1 Bay Leaf
Salt and Pepper
Begin by cooking the onions in the fat (lard, oil, butter) until soft. I always use the heaviest cast iron skillet I have, but that’s just me. Then add the flour and make a brown roux with it. A roux, aka “Creole Napalm,” is really a matter of practice and patience. A brown roux should be dark brown, the darker, the better the taste. Whatever you do, don’t stop stirring, or let this stuff splatter on you. When satisfied, add the chicken, and brown it as well.
Here comes the fun part. Add stock or water, herbs, and seasonings, and stir well. Cover the pot and simmer for thirty minutes or so on your stove’s lowest setting (mine is 600 btu’s), or an hour for a whole chicken, and you’re done. Check frequently to make sure that the chicken does not stick, or “lay on,” as we like to say. Serve with rice, preferably Louisiana rice, or pasta. Potatoes will also work.
This dish is simple and amazingly good. It’s also a perfect way to practice your skills as a Fricassee cook.