Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

The Chef of the Century had a crowing Gallic Coq tattooed on his left arm, one he would often flaunt proudly. The rooster is the national bird of France. But could the tattoo also symbolize Paul Bocuse’s veneration for Poulet de Bresse?

Upon learning of the Chef’s passing on January 20th at 91 years-old, French President Emmanuel Macron lamented that his death had chefs everywhere weeping in their kitchens.

Mais oui. Here too.

My love affair with “Chicken and Morels Paul Bocuse” began decades ago in Chicago at a long-gone restaurant named Bistro 110 where fricassée of chicken was served on a bed of fresh sautéed spinach with a morel cream sauce.

The combination was brilliant. The creamy mushroom sauce infused the sautéed spinach and turned it into a French version of steakhouse-creamed-spinach. The synergy of earthy-nutty morels and impeccably cooked chicken resulted in a timeless dish. It was rich but not overly so, it was balanced in the style that the Chef was known for…classic yet modern.

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul BocuseIn 2011 when Paul Bocuse was named “Chef of the Century” by the Culinary Institute of America, Jacques Pépin said, “Certainly he did more than any other chef in the world that I can think of to bring the chefs in the dining room and to make the profession respectable and to make us who we are now…Now the chefs are stars and it’s because of Paul Bocuse.”

For my birthday, I hosted a luncheon in honor of the Chef and served Chicken Fricassée inspired by him. Here is my recipe.

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

Monsieur Paul’s recipe incorporates a good amount of the chef’s favorite ingredient, butter. He called it a magical product, and declared that nothing replaces butter.

But in his later life, the robust Chef needed to lose weight, and in 2005 underwent a triple heart bypass. Of course he still cooked with butter, but also was an advocate of heart-healthy olive oil as well.

My interpretation of his recipe includes both butter and olive oil. And while the dish is famous for its Poulet de Bresse and Morel mushrooms – don’t let the unavailability of these two prized ingredients keep you from making a version of the Chef’s famous dish. Local high-quality chicken and flavorful cremini mushrooms can and do stand in très bien.

Recipe for 6 Servings

Mushroom Cream Sauce Recipe

Velouté:

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 2 – 3 c. hot chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

Make a classic roux by melting butter in a sauce pan. When the butter is frothy gradually add flour, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until the mixture is a light-golden color and the raw flour flavor is cooked out.

Slowly pour in the chicken stock, whisking continuously, to form a gravy-like consistency. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Keep warm over low-heat, whisking occasionally while prepping other ingredients.

Mushrooms:

  • 16 oz. cremini mushrooms – cleaned, trimmed and sliced (or morels if available)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Sauté mushrooms in a light amount of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  • 3/8 c. shallot, fine dice
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine
  • 1/2 c. french white vermouth such as Noilly Pratt
  • 3 large sprigs of tarragon
  • 8 oz. crème fraîche

In a medium sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add shallot and cook until soft. Add wine, vermouth, and tarragon then cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add the cooked mushrooms, continue to sauté for another couple minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Remove tarragon sprigs.

Thin the velouté with chicken stock if it is too thick. Add the mushroom/shallot mixture to the velouté. Whisk in crème fraîche. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

Chicken
  • 6 large chicken thighs (with skin and bones)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Sauté chicken thighs skin-side-down in a sauté pan in olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the skinless side with salt and pepper. When the skin is crispy, turn the chicken over and sear the other side for approximately  3 to 4 minutes.

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

Remove chicken from frying pan and place in a clean, oven-proof casserole dish, skin-side-up. Finish cooking chicken in the oven to a 160°F internal temperature.

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

Remove casserole from oven, remove chicken to a platter. Pour mushroom cream sauce into casserole dish. Stir to incorporate the juices. Add chicken back to casserole dish, taking care not to submerge the crispy skin. Simmer on stovetop for approximately 10-15 minutes to finish cooking the chicken in the sauce. Meanwhile, prepare the spinach.

Spinach
  • 24 oz. fresh spinach (4 0z. per person)
  • olive oil
  • garlic, minced
  • red chile flakes, to taste
  • salt, to taste

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add garlic and chile flakes, cook for one minute. Add spinach by the handfuls, stirring as it cooks down, adding more spinach. Season with salt to taste.

To Serve Chicken Fricassée

Mound a portion of sautéed spinach in the center of a plate. Ladle mushroom cream sauce over the spinach. Place chicken thigh on top. Garnish with tarragon.

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

Merci Beaucoup, Chef…

Chicken Fricassée à la Chef Paul Bocuse

…Repose en Paix

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