The Boyertown Area Times


The recipes are easy to make and taste delicious.

- By Cathy Thomas

Decades ago, as I cooked my way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking — Volume One,” I was charmed by the pages devoted to fricassees. These delicious stew-like concoction­s are one-pot chicken dishes slowcooked in liquid after they are browned in butter, or in some cases a combinatio­n of butter and oil. Broth played an important role and cream was often included in the ingredient list. But not always; the chapter’s Coq au Vin boasted a red Burgundy.

“It is an ideal technique for ahead-of-time dishes, as the chicken loses none of its essential qualities if is it allowed to cool in its sauce and is reheated,” Julia wrote.

Indeed, they are ideal. I was reminded of their irresistib­ility recently when cooking from Ina Garten’s newest book, “GoTo Dinners.” I had six guests coming for lunch on a rainy day and needed to have a onedish meal, a comforting dish that could be spooned into individual bowls. A heated baguette would be passed, wine poured into glasses. Done.

Garten’s Chicken in a Pot with Orzo was perfect. Everyone loved it including a picky grandchild. A whole chicken bubbled in a mix of veggies, garlic and chicken broth augmented with a bundle of thyme, parsley and dill. A smidgen of saffron lent delight to the mix.

I prepared the dish in advance, then brought it to a nononsense simmer and stirred in the orzo and let it sit, covered, 25 minutes before serving. Meanwhile I pulled the chicken off the bones. After testing the orzo, I returned the boned chicken to the mixture and then ladled it into bowls. Some fresh chopped dill crowned each serving along with a little sprinkle of kosher salt.

The recipe follows along with two other one-pot chicken dishes. Not Julia’s fricassees, but delectable nonetheles­s. Enjoy.

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