Andrew Carmellini is a New York chef whom we’ve followed from one restaurant success to another. First, we encountered Andrew’s take on contemporary Italian cooking at the original A Voce right off Madison Square Park at 41 Madison Avenue at 26th Street. How well we remember his incredible ricotta and lamb meatballs. From there, we followed Andrew to Locanda Verde, in Robert de Niro’s Greenwich Hotel. We could not get enough of his amazing Porchetta. So when I read a new Andrew recipe in November’s Food and Wine magazine, I couldn’t wait to try it.
It seems Andrew is about to launch another new restaurant in New York. This one is called The Dutch. Contrary to what the name might suggest, this will be Andrew’s take on American food. According to what I read, Andrew’s been travelling up a storm tasting everything from barbecue in Tennessee to Cuban food in Florida. Apparently, he was pretty appalled at some of what he ate. He railed against canned baked beans, coleslaw that comes out of a jar (who knew?), dried out meat…the list went on. So he decided to re-invent some American classics for his newest place which is set to open at 131 Sullivan Street, deep in the heart of Greenwich Village. Food and Wine offered a glimpse at what Andrew’s been up to in the form of a recipe for Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Fricasee. Now you’ll note that the title of this post in Crispy Chicken Fricassee. This happened because as I was cooking Andrew’s dish, I had an epiphany. Why not use the wonderful bed of mushrooms, onions, low fat sour cream and non-fat Greek Yogurt as a landing place for the incredibly good, crispy-skinned Chicken that appeared, with Andrew’s instructions, out of the oven. So instead of embedding the chicken in the sauce and simmering away all that crisp goodness, we ended up with something so good, it was close to Fried Chicken in its texture but so much healthier than that iconic American dish. This will take you all of 30 minutes prep time and about an hour and fifteen minutes to get on the table. The original recipe called for a 3 ½ lb chicken cut into 8 pieces. I am a great fan of the flavorful chicken thigh, skin on to get all that crispy goodness. That’s what I used here and since there were just two of us, I used 4 of them. I did not however, cut the rest of the recipe down. I believe extra sauce is far better than not enough sauce. Here’s the recipe:
Recipe for Crispy Chicken Fricassee:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps diced or use any ‘wild mushroom’. I had a beautiful oyster mushroom.
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Arrange the chicken pieces, skin side up, on a rack set on a large rimmed baking sheet; season generously with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken in the center of the oven for about 45 minutes, until cooked through and the skin is crisp.
Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, raise the heat to high and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, bay leaves and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, scraping up any browned bits, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sour cream and yogurt. Discard the bay leaves.
Transfer the chicken to plates, sprinkle celery leaves over the top and serve. Basmati or Jasmine rice is a nice accompaniment to this dish.