I came across fricot three years ago when I was working on a cross-Canada tasting menu. This was the first time I really dove into the cuisine of the Acadian people. I spoke to chefs in New Brunswick to get a sense of what the fricot looks like. It would often be served at a celebration or wedding. It’s usually chicken, a farm hen. Or it can be seafood or game meat. But not usually all together. This fricot is very much a hearty fall dish. I like the smoked oyster—it adds depth.
- 1 chicken, about 1.5 kg (3 ½ lb), rinsed
- 4 small yellow onions, peeled and trimmed
- 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
- 2 ribs celery, peeled
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise (or 8 baby carrots)
- 1 leek, halved lengthwise, white and pale green part only
- 5 sprigs summer savory
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 L (4 quarts) chicken stock
- Salt, pepper
- 250 ml (1 cup) flour
- 125 ml (½ cup) buttermilk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 125 ml (½ cup) soft butter
- 125 ml (½ cup) flour
- 16 smoked oysters (or smoked clams, or combination thererof)*
Preheat the oven to 175° (350°F). In a Dutch oven combine chicken, onions, potatoes, celery, carrots, leek, savory and bay leaf. Add stock to cover (add water if necessary) and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Season, cover and transfer to oven until chicken is tender—60 to 90 minutes. Let rest, covered, on countertop for an hour. Remove the chicken from stock. Pull meat from the carcass, cut into bite-sized pieces, and reserve, covered (discard skin and bones). Skim fat from surface of broth, and discard. Strain broth and reserve. Halve onions lengthwise and separate the layers to make petals. Cube potatoes. Slice carrots, celery and leek into bite-sized pieces. Reserve vegetables.
To finish, first prepare the dumpling batter: combine flour, buttermilk, egg, chives, parsley and baking powder in a bowl. Mix until smooth (but do not overwork). Transfer reserved broth to a large saucepan on medium heat and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, combine soft butter and flour in a bowl, and mash together with a fork to form a thick paste (beurre manié).
Add the beurre manié to the simmering broth 1 tbsp at a time, whisking vigorously to incorporate, until desired consistency is achieved (you needn’t use all of it). Add reserved chicken meat, vegetables and shellfish to the soup and stir until heated through. To finish, add dumpling batter one spoonful at a time. Cover and cook undisturbed at a gentle simmer for 3 minutes (for tablespoon-sized dumplings)—or 5 minutes for larger ones. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve.
*fresh lobster or crab also works nicely.
When there’s smoke send in oak! The delicate oaky notes in this chardonnay will enhance the same aspects in the recipe. Chardonnay also has tantalizing earthy undertones which make it perfect for any dish with savoury autumnal flavours.
For more info on these and other fine wines, go to Mark Anthony Wine & Spirits.