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                                                                  • Yes No 4 spring chickens
                                                                  • Yes No salt and freshly ground black pepper
                                                                  • Yes No 1 of fresh parsley, stalks kept
                                                                  • Yes No 1 of fresh tarragon, stalks kept
                                                                  • Yes No 4 tsp 4 teaspoons whole grain mustard
                                                                  • Yes No 2 tbsp 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
                                                                  • Yes No extra virgin olive oil
                                                                  • Yes No 1 white onion
                                                                  • Yes No 2 cloves of garlic
                                                                  • Yes No 1/2 celery heart, back
                                                                  • Yes No 2 good of butter
                                                                  • Yes No 2 wineglasses of crisp white wine
                                                                  • Yes No 1 pint 1 pint stock
                                                                  • Yes No 3 boston lettuces
                                                                  • Yes No 1 of seedless grapes
                                                                  • This recipe is based on the classic French fricassee of chicken that I spent so many years as a student preparing. I’ve been lucky enough to see authentic ones cooked in France, and the Italian version of the same. A fricassee means floured meat fried and turned into a stew, using the flour as a thickening agent. In this recipe I’ve bastardized an old original, using individual spring chickens (each weighing about 1lb), but you can use a cut-up larger chicken.Preheat the oven to 350°F. Season your baby chickens inside and out with salt and pepper and stuff each of them with the parsley and tarragon stalks. Using your forefinger, carefully part the skin from the breast meat and smear a teaspoon of mustard into each bird. Rub the flour all over the chickens so they are covered in a thin layer. Keep any flour that falls off.In a snug-fitting casserole-type pan, fry your chickens in 3 good pours of olive oil on all sides for 10 minutes, until golden. Remove them to a plate and then fry the onion, garlic and celery in the pan. Add the butter and excess flour and continue to fry for about 4 minutes, scraping off any goodness that is on the bottom of the pan. Add your 2 glasses of white wine and allow the liquid to reduce by half, then put the chickens back into the pan. Now pour in your stock — it should come about halfway up the chickens. Make yourself a cartouche (see page 174). Wet it so it’s flexible, then tuck this in and around the pan.Place in the oven and cook for around 50 minutes to an hour, until the chickens have crisp skin and the thigh meat falls off the bone. Remove the chicken to some nice serving bowls — ones that can hold a bit of sauce — and place your pan back on the stovetop. Add the lettuces, grapes, parsley leaves and tarragon leaves and simmer for a couple more minutes. Correct the seasoning carefully and spoon this sauce next to the chicken.Try this: A fricassee can also be made successfully using white fish.Or this: Sometimes I tie the birds up (see page 228) to keep the legs from sticking out all over the place when they cook.
                                                                  Yields: 4
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