Cooking time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
This richly flavored version of a great French classic was inspired by the late chef Joël Robuchon. It’s perfect for sharing, whatever the time of year, and whether you’re cooking for four or for ten. Like many of my favorite dishes for entertaining, it can be prepared a day ahead, right up to the final step.
- 4 tomatoes (about 1¼ lb./600 g)
- 4–5 sweet, crisp carrots, depending on size
- 3 tbsp (1¾ oz./50 g) butter
- 4 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 chickens, preferably organic, weighing at least 3½ lb. (1.5 kg) each, jointed into 8 pieces (see Notes)
- 20 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- Scant 3 cups (700 ml) aged red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 bouquet garni (4 bay leaves, 3 thyme sprigs, and 6 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, tied together with kitchen twine)
- ½ cup (125 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tbsp hot Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp Cognac or Armagnac (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Fresh tarragon
- Tagliatelle or pasta shells tossed with butter
1Peel and halve the tomatoes and remove the seeds. Peel the carrots and cut them into ½-in. (1-cm) rounds.
2Place the butter and oil in a cast-iron Dutch oven, large enough to take all the chicken joints, and set over low heat. When the butter has melted, increase the heat to high, add the chicken pieces, and brown on all sides (about 5 minutes in total).
3Add the carrots, garlic cloves, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Let boil for 5 minutes to allow some of the vinegar to evaporate. Partially cover the pot, lower to a simmer, and continue to reduce for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and bouquet garni, and season with salt and pepper. Stir, cover, and cook over low heat for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is fall-off-the-bones tender. Remove the bouquet garni. You can make the fricassee up to this point a day ahead. Cool and refrigerate until ready to reheat and serve.
4In a bowl, combine the heavy cream, mustard, and Cognac or Armagnac (if using). Season with salt and pepper, pour over the chicken in the pot, and let boil for 2 minutes. Serve immediately garnished with fresh tarragon and accompanied by buttered pasta. Mouthwateringly good!
- Although good organic chicken makes this fricassee special, if you want something more unusual, use duck instead. If you do choose duck, count on serving eight rather than twelve people. Since duck is slightly fattier than chicken, after browning the meat for a good 5 minutes in the first step, drain the excess fat from the pan and discard it. Otherwise, proceed as indicated.
Extracted from Enjoy: Recipes for Memorable Gatherings by Perla Servan-Schreiber (Flammarion, 2020).