Growing up, we would go to Momou and Grandpa’s for Sunday lunch at least once a month. And so many times she would fix chicken fricasse, sweet tomato gravy, rice and gravy, potato salad, her macaroni and cheese, petite pois and the ever present brown and serve rolls. When I got older, I was responsible for buttering the rolls before they went in the oven. I always knew when I was called to butter those rolls, lunch was getting close. I can still see the huge bowl of potato salad all gussied up with its sprinkling of Tony’s, sitting there on the white Formica bar right next to the glass pitcher of the BEST sweet tea I have ever had, even to this day. There were so many people packed into that house on those days usually, so many that we had to set up the card table to make room and yet looking back, it never seemed that full. It just seemed homey.
Now, I will admit that I was not a chicken fricasse fan until I got older. This had a whole lot to do with the fact that when I went to take a peek at was for lunch, there were chicken feet. In the pot. Chicken feet in the pot, ya’ll. I just could not even handle it. You see they had chickens at the time and Momou would just toss the whole bird in the pot. I guess even back then, homey did not play. By homey I mean me. But by the time I was in high school, she had stopped all that homegrown chicken business and was buying chickens from the store. Sans feet and much more my speed, thank you very much. I am really glad I came around because this meal so something to behold. It is likely on my list of favorites.
A few weeks ago, our best friends since grad school, Marc and Lolly and two of their kiddos came for a visit. My sweet girl turned 10 and they came to celebrate her and also just to visit. It was a good time with excellent company and some pretty excellent food, if I must say so myself. As I have told ya’ll before, Marc is from Eunice and is a dang good cook. Lolly is amazing in the kitchen as well. Anytime we go over there, it is a smorgasbord of food, so when they come here, I like to do it up right. And I think I managed to cook a meal that everyone enjoyed. Momou’s classic fricasse meal pleases another mass of hungry peeps. I cannot wait to see her again and tell her all about it. She took the time a few years ago to write down some requested recipes and I am so glad. It is the easiest recipe to follow and is not hard to make at all. Just like most recipes from the good ole days, this one does not require any exotic ingredients. It’s a feast for your senses and I am telling you, it never disappoints. We followed it up with a red velvet cake for Cookie’s birthday and we were all stuffed to the gills. What a day!!! If every Saturday could be that good, what a wonderful world this would be. It’s a meal to share with beloved friends and family and it is satisfying simplicity at its very finest.
Now I am including the recipe for sweet tomato gravy because one goes with the other and it is wrong to serve chicken fricasse without sweet tomato gravy. Says me. But of course, it’s not a law or anything so do what you will. If this is your first time to have fricasse then I would absolutely make the sweet tomato gravy as well. You can have the full experience. Go big of go home is what I say.
Chicken fricasse (French stew)
Serves about 8
Stuff you need~
1 fryer, cut up
About 3/4 jar of Savoie’s roux (1 pint jar)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
Ground red pepper, to taste
Salt to taste (Momou says NO black pepper in her recipe)
1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped (or cut with kitchen shears as Mrs. Fern, Marc’s mama, does)
Chopped parsley (optional)
What to do with the stuff~
Bring about 2 quart of water to a boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Once boiling, add in roux and stir well until it is completely dissolved.
Add the chopped onion and bell pepper and then lower your fire. Allow this to simmer to low heat for about 1 hour. Add in your chicken once it starts to thicken.
Cook until the chicken is good and tender…falling off the bone is more like it). Add in your seasoning to taste.
Serve over rice, my baby. It’s good.
Sweet Tomato Gravy
Stuff you need~
1 1/2 cups of water
2 tablespoons Savoie’s roux
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
Sugar to taste (as Momou says…it takes a good bit)
In a small, heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring water to a boil. After it comes to a boil, stir in roux.
Whisk or stir until it dissolves. Whisk in the tomato sauce. Stir until smooth.
Lower the heat and stir in sugar to taste. Simmer over low heat until mixture thickens a bit. Sweet tomato gravy…fricasse’s best friend.