Chicken Fricassee in Aged Wine Vinegar Sauce with Macaroni au Gratin

Credit: Didier Loire
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Step 1: Bresse Hen

Singe and draw the hens.

Cut away the legs, being careful to remove the sot-l’y-laisse (oyster) as well, and separate the upper and lower parts of the legs. Using a small saw, cut 1/2 inch (1 cm) above the joint separating the lower half from the foot, so that the bone becomes exposed by itself while cooking.

Remove the back and wishbones. Cut away the wings, separating the pinions. Leave the breasts whole and attached to the bone between them.

Step 2: Fricassee

Make a bouquet garni with the thyme, bay leaf, parsley stems, and the tarragon.

Season the chicken pieces with fleur de sel. Heat some olive oil in a cast iron pot large enough to hold the entire hen without the pieces overlapping.

Sear, browning the meat evenly on all sides. Add the butter and the unpeeled garlic cloves, and finish browning.

Pour off the fat from the pot completely, and deglaze with some aged red wine vinegar. Coat each of the pieces of meat well by tossing in the caramel obtained from deglazing the pot.

As soon as the vinegar has reduced completely, pour in another trickle of aged wine vinegar and coat the meat once again in the caramel. Repeat six or seven times.

Add the bouquet garni, tomato juice, white wine, and chicken jus. Bring to a boil, and skim off the impurities. Lower the heat, cover, and let the fricassee infuse slowly on the edge of the range, making sure that it does not come to a boil.

It is important to check the doneness of the different pieces, as each will have a different cooking time depending on its fat content and size.

When cooked, remove each piece and place in a sauté pan. Cover and keep in a moderately warm spot. Slice the breasts and place them in the sauté pan with the other pieces.

Bring the sauce to a boil, check the seasoning, and filter through a wide-meshed chinois into the sauté pan with the meat. Cover and keep warm.

This recipe was originally published in "Culinary Encyclopedia by Alain Ducasse" (Éditions Alain Ducasse). See all credits

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