Chicken fricassée

A Gordon Ramsay recipe from The Times, but don’t let that stop you.

Serves 3 normal people, or 4 with small appetites. Serve with rice or sautéed potatoes, plus some green vegetables, and a glass of cold white wine.

You will need a heavy sauté pan with a lid. Also, warm the oven to a low heat (50C), just to keep things warm (hey, put your plates in to warm up!).
15 minutes prep, 45 to 50 minutes to cook.


  • Either, a large chicken jointed into eight pieces or, to make life easier, 8 or 10 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on.
  • 150g smoked bacon lardons.
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed.
  • 150g or a bit more of chestnut mushrooms or tasty wild mushrooms. In the case of chestnut mushrooms, these should be halved. For other mushrooms, cut into large chunks (not small pieces – they get lost).
  • 100ml brandy. Ramsay doesn’t put enough in for my liking (he calls for less).
  • 450ml chicken stock.
  • 1 bay leaf.
  • 2 or 3 sprigs rosemary.
  • 2 or 3 generous sprigs of thyme – you just want the leaves, discard the stems.
  • A handful of parsley, roughly chopped. Flat leaf parsley works best.
  • Salt, pepper.
  • Olive oil for frying.


  • Using a large sauté pan over a medium to high heat, heat the oil. Season the chicken and add to the hot pan, skin side down. Sauté for 5 or 6 minutes without turning until golden (just shuffle it a bit to stop it sticking).
  • Turn the chicken, add the lardons, garlic and mushrooms and mix well.
  • Add the bay leaf, rosemary and thyme.
  • Add the brandy. Then, carefully, set fire to the brandy (I use a kitchen torch) and flambé the chicken. Take great care, as you may get a big whoosh of flame, set fire to your eyebrows and burn the house down.
  • Allow the flames to subside, then reduce the heat and allow the pan to simmer gently for 2 or 3 minutes.
  • Pour over the chicken stock, then return the pan to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover and cook for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Check that the chicken is cooked through (no pink meat in the middle).
  • Remove the chicken pieces to a plate and put in the oven to keep warm.
  • Crank up the heat on your sauté pan for a few minutes to reduce and slightly thicken the sauce.
  • Remove the rosemary, garlic and bay leaf from the sauce and discard.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan, and spoon the sauce over it.
  • Serve immediately.

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