saffron and coriander chicken fricassee


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, Iโ€™m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

We suck at hanging art work at home, it’s one of the hardest things to do and the commercials of course make it looks easy. And clearly, it’s one of the most stressful things you can do together as a couple! Getting equal spacing between random pieces of art on wall, maintaining some sort of uniformity and to keep it pleasing, is anxiety on my soul. And though M says no one will notice, I know I will. A slightly crooked frame will be an eye sore for eternity. So there we were, measuring tape, pencil, nails and a hammer. 4 frames, each hung at least twice! And we still have 12 more to go… and spots and stains to fix and repaint…

I’ve taken a lot of liberties with this fricassee and if you see my notes below, though the technique is similar, I’ve adapted it to make it easier and a little lighter and tried to give the dish a little Indian vibe. There’s a pinch of saffron threads and smoky coriander for that rich color and flavor. A fricassee is a richly flavored one-pot French dish that gets flavored at different levels, the mirepoix, the herbs and spice add their magic to the chicken. There are a few steps to making it but it’s one of the large batch dishes that you can make it in advance and save yourself some time during the week!

Usually, you should cook a fricasse in a medium-size heavy Dutch oven. Honestly, it does wonders for this dish because of it’s heavy cast iron base and lid. The chicken cooks fast due to the uniform heat distribution and the steam, the chicken will have a tender texture once it is cooked. I used Le Creuset’s new mix and match cast-iron dutch oven that comes with either a red or blue lid to match the colors of the French flag!

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this fricassee;

  • I cheat a little in this fricassee. I’ve skipped the boquet garni and the liasion. A fricassee can be pretty rich and heavy with cream and eggs, I skipped all of this and made the sauce creamy by emulsifying the liquid in the Dutch oven to give a creamy and silky sauce. 
  • If I’m craving a little bit of heat, I’ll add a teaspoon of red chili flakes to the Dutch oven when I add the coriander. 
  • This is a great one pot meal, one you can prepare in advance and eat during the week. I also sometimes throw in a can of beans or some chopped char.

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee| A Brown Table

saffron and coriander chicken fricassee

yields: 6 servings


4 lbs chicken legs with bone and skin, whole

1 tablespoon kosher sea salt

1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup white onion, diced

1 cup celery stalks, diced

1 tablespoon flour

1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground

1/4 teaspoon saffron strands

1 cup white wine (I used a sauvignon blanc)

1 quart chicken broth, unsalted

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 tablespoons tarragon, fresh chopped

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1. Pat the chicken dry with clean paper towels. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Melt the butter and the olive oil in a medium-sized Dutch oven (5.5 quarts) on medium-high heat. When the butter starts to foam, place the chicken skin down and brown on each side for about 5 minutes. The chicken pieces can be fried in batches. Remove from Dutch oven and keep the chicken aside on a clean plate. 

2. Reduce the heat to low and to the same Dutch oven, add the diced carrots, onions and celery. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until almost the vegetables start to just brown. Then add coriander and saffron and cook for another 30 seconds with constant stirring. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix until the no visible flecks of flour can be seen. 

3. Pour the wine and chicken broth into the Dutch oven and stir to mix. Increase heat to high and bring the contents to a a boil. Now return the browned chicken pieces to the Dutch oven along with the bay leaves. Cover with the lid and reduced heat to medium-high. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked (internal temperature 165F). Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove the chicken pieces and bay leaves. Now transfer 3/4 of this liquid left in the Dutch oven to a blender and pulse until almost smooth. Return the liquid to the Dutch oven, stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Now return the chicken back to the Dutch oven. Garnish with the chopped tarragon and parsley. Serve hot with a good rustic country bread. 

Disclaimer: This post sponsored by Le Creuset and Williams Sonoma. All opinions expressed are solely my own. 

11 Responses

  1. This looks delicious, such a creamy looking sauce without any dairy. I’m always looking for new recipes for chicken.

    I love these photos – with regards to the art hanging, I leave that to my boyfriend ๐Ÿ™‚ He’s the one with the eye.

  2. Thanks! I have guests tomorrow and finally I know what to cook! Instead of bread, what would you serve! A couscous with pistachios?

  3. Nik, this looks sublime. I usually don’t like to cook chicken with the skin on (unless if I’m roasting or grilling). I know. I know every "western" recipe will tell you to cook/braise the chicken with the skin on. I pretty much use skinless chicken in all our (Persian style) stews. Unless I’m roasting a whole chicken. Then I really appreciate a nice crisp skin. Otherwise, I find the skin gets soft and chewy. This is also very cultural, in my house growing up the skin was considered "not clean". Any thoughts on this?

    1. Naz, it’s the same thing with Indian cuisine too, I grew up not really eating the skin on poultry because it is considered "unclean". For curries and Indian type stews, I always no-skin pieces but I prefer keeping the bones. That being said, like you I a crisp skin on chicken wings and fried chicken. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. So i made this recipe for my guests yesterday and it was a huge success! I made it with quinoa and added some high quality olive oil, pistachios and freshly chopped coriander leaves to the quinoa. It was delicious.
    Today I made the same again (sorry I’m addicted now ;-)) in a vegan version with tofu and chickpeas instead of chicken. Still a wonderful dish! Thanks for sharing this, I will keep that recipe as a treasure now!

  5. I’m with you on the frustrations of artwork hanging, and having to get it perfect. This looks so warm and comforting, I can’t wait to try, as the legs are my favorite bits ๐Ÿ™‚

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