Neither my family nor my students ever get enough of a good chicken fricassée. Walter is a master at cutting up a chicken – students love to watch – and a nicely cut-up chicken (versus one that’s been “butchered”) makes all the difference.
A large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, with a lid.
1 farm-fresh chicken (3 to 4 pounds; 1.5-2 kg), preferably organic and free-range, cut into 8 serving pieces, at room temperature
Fine sea salt
Coarse, freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 cup (250 ml) white wine
1 28-ounce (794 g) can diced Italian tomatoes in juice
1 cup (115 g) green Picholine olives, pitted
1 cup (115 g )brine-cured black olives, pitted
1/4 cup (60 ml) capers in vinegar, drained
12 artichoke hearts marinated in olive oil, drained
Cooked rice or fresh pasta, for serving
1. Liberally season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper.
2. In the large, deep skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken pieces (in batches if necessary) and brown until they turn an even golden color, about 5 minutes. Turn the pieces and brown them on the other side, 5 minutes more. Carefully regulate the heat to avoid scorching the skin. When the pieces are browned, use tongs (to avoid piercing the poultry) to transfer them to a platter.
3. Reduce the heat to low, add the onions and fennel to the skillet and sweat – cook, covered, over low heat – until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet. Add the wine, tomatoes (with juices), olives, capers and artichokes. Cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is cooked through. About 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve with rice or fresh pasta.
A regular house wine at our family table as well as in our classes is a Languedoc red, the Clos de l’Annel Corbières les Terrassettes from Sophie Guiraudo and Philippe Mathias. It’s a lively, spicy, peppery red that pairs well with this zesty chicken dish.