Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Chicken Fricassee with Ramps and Baby Bellas

We're still hard and heavy into the ramps here. They're finding their way into every meal, from our scrumptious morning ramps and scallion omelette with ham, cheddar and chives, which my daughter has requested every morning for breakfast since so scavenged my Sunday morning omelette:

to a light lunch of spaghetti with ramps, made the way I do spaghetti aglio e olio:

I pulled out some chicken pieces and chicken stock from the freezer to clear out the older stuff  to make room in there for this season's new crop of stock and purees.

I found a recipe for braised chicken thighs with morels and ramps in a white wine cream sauce, which seemed to me to be basically a chicken fricassee, which my kids love. I had a package of baby bells malingering in the fridge for the past week or so, and I knew I had to use those suckers up before they went to the dark side, so this recipe seemed perfect.

I still had half a head of cauliflower to use up, and some leftover cheese sauce from our weekend mac-and cheese, and what vegetable pairs better with a cheese sauce than cauliflower? All the pieces were falling into place. YES! I will clear out the fridge and freezer. Instead of the usual quinoa and rice pilaf, I made German potato pancakes and added a small bunch of ramps to the batter for some interesting, and tasty green Kartoffelpuffer.

Chicken fricassee, steamed cauliflower with white cheddar sauce and ramps and potato pancakes:

The kids plowed through this last night, leaving me only one little thigh and cauliflower floret for the pictures.

Chicken Fricassee with Ramps and Baby Bellas

  • 8 chicken pieces - thighs and drumsticks
  • approximately 1 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
  • dried thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound baby bellas
  • 1 bunch ramps, 10 - 12, whites and greens chopped 
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cup dry white wine - I used a Pinot Gris
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • additional chicken stock or water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat a large dutch oven over high heat.

2. Fill a large ziplock bag with about 1 cup of all-purpose flour, a teaspoon of dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon paprika. Shake to mix. Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry then place in the bag. Press out as much air as you can and seal the bag tightly, then shake until the chicken pieces are nicely coated with the flour mixture. Take out each piece, shaking off hte excess flour adn set them on a platter.

3. Add olive oil and 3 tablespoons of butter to the pre-heated dutch oven. Once the butter has all melted and the oil begins to shimmer, add chicken pieces to the pan in batches, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Brown the pieces for 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove the browned chicken pieces to a platter to rest.

4. Lower the heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons butter to the dutch oven and saute the chopped ramps and shallots for 4 - 5 minutes, then add the chopped mushrooms and let cook down for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Transfer vegetables to a bowl.

5. Increase the heat to high and de-glaze with white wine, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom. Lower the heat and simmer until the wine to reduce by a third. Add 2 cups of chicken stock, the bay leaf and  thyme sprigs. Lay the chicken pieces in the dutch oven and top with the sauteed vegetables on top of the chicken.

6. Place the dutch oven in the oven and braise for an hour and a half.

7. Place the chicken pieces on a serving platter. Place the dutch oven on a burner over low heat and add cream and chicken stock until it is the consistency you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve chicken with sauce over top.

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