Two Recipes for Chicken Fricasée

In A Survey of Food History (ML 622), we were assigned a most delightful final exam essay question — compare and contrast two recipes for the same dish:

Poulets en Fricasée au Vin de Champagne

Recipe from: Francois Massialot, Le Nouveau Cuisinier Royal et Bourgeois. vol. II Paris: Joseph Saugrain 1748. p. 246. 

Take your chickens, gut them, and remove the skin. Cut the legs beneath the joint, and the little tips of the wings, remove the thighs, and chop where the bone meets the thigh, and remove the bone. Place the thighs in water, remove the wings and the stomach, then clean the rest of the carcasse, and cut it all around. Wash the chickens two or three times in water, and blanch them on the stove. Being blanched, place them in cold water, and clean well over a sieve or on a plate; place them in a casserole with a little melted lard and a bit of butter and a bouquet garnis, an onion stuck with two or three cloves, some small mushrooms, some truffles cut in slices, and some cockscombs seasoned with salt. Put the whole mixture in an oven, being cooked, sprinkle with flour, and pass two or three times on the stove, and moisten with a little bouillon. Boil two glasses of champagne, and put into the fricasée, and let cook on a low fire. Mix two or three egg yolks with a little veal stock, and a bit of parsley. When the fricasée is done, reduce a little, mixing the liason you have prepared with the egg yolks and veal stock. Being mixed, see that it has a good flavor, and dress properly in the plate in which you will serve it, and serve hot as an entree or hors-d’oeuvre.

Chicken with White Wine and White Grapes

Recipe from: Poppy Cannon, The Can-Opener Cookbook NY: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1953, p. 131. 

You will need: 

  • Canned chicken fricasee
  • Dry white table wine
  • curry or turmeric
  • Seedless white grapes, fresh or canned

Open and empty a can of chicken fricasee with its gravy into a pan. Rinse the tin with 4 tablespoons dry white table wine such as Reisling, hick, Rhine wine , or Moselle. Add ½ teaspoon curry powder or turmeric. Season with a little extra salt, freshly ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly,. Bring to a boil, simmer about 2 minutes but do not boil. Add ½ cups tiny white seedless grapes. If canned seedless grapes are used, drain them first and heat for a minute in 2 tablespoons of butter.

At Serving time: For the utmost in elegance serve with wild rice, which can be bouht canned and ready for heating, or saffron rice. Serves 2 or 3.

Read “Chicken Fricasée Face-Off: 18th Century Haute Cuisine versus 1950s Can-Opener Cooking


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