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Fricassee de Poulet

May 24, 2011
By Wendy Monro - Food Writer , The Journal

When I was in my early twenties, I drove down the freeway with a very good friend during a huge rainstorm. I felt indestructible and drove at a regular dry road pace. It would be nice to go back to somewhere between the ages of 18 through the birth of my first child and harness that feeling that nothing I could do could end my life.

My car's tires lost their grip on the road. We spun around in circles, hit the side embankment and flipped over. We landed suspended from our seats, held in place by our seat belts. We did not suffer any injuries except for a slight crack in the illusion of immortality.

I believed I would never again have to experience anything like this. I thought that once you go through the flipping of a car, you could check that off the list of possible life experiences.

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A plate of Wendy’s dish called Fricassee de Poulet.

Two years later, my cousin picked me up from the airport. A few minutes into the drive, I hung there suspended from the seat in a seat belt. Huh? I went through it again!

I realized, I had no idea what is going on. Things can happen again and again and there is nothing I can do about it. I guess you could say I was very unlucky to have gone through two scary accidents like this. I choose to believe that I was extremely lucky to have survived, unharmed, two very scary accidents.

So, about 20 years later, I am not surprised that we are moving back to Hanska, Minnesota, again.

Fact Box

Fricassee de Poulet

Time: 1 hours

Serves: 4-6

1 whole 3 pound chicken, cut off of the bone

4 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons flour

2 cups dry white wine

3 cups chicken stock

bouquet garni (sage, rosemary, bay leaf, thyme)

teaspoon pepper

8 oz button mushrooms

1 teaspoon lemon juice

16-24 small white onions, peeled

cup water

1 teaspoon sugar

6 tablespoons whipping cream

salt to taste, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Wash chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Melt half of the butter with the oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the chicken and cook for ten minutes, turning occasionally or until just turning brown. Sprinkle the chicken with flour, cook for about four minutes more (two minutes each side). Pour in the wine and stock and bring to a boil. Scrape the base of the dish with a wooden spoon. Add bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium heat for thirty minutes. In another pan, melt the remaining butter. Add mushrooms and lemon juice. Cook for three minutes. Move mushrooms to a bowl. Add the onions, water and sugar to the pan. Simmer for ten minutes. Add onions to the mushrooms in the bowl. When the chicken is cooked, take them out of the Dutch oven. Discard the bouquet garni. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until the sauce is reduced by half. Whisk the cream into the sauce and cook for two minutes. Add mushrooms and onions. Cook for two minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley.

I write, "moving back" like we moved there once, moved away, and now we are returning. No, this is our fourth move back to Hanska.

Most people make a move like this once, if ever, in their lives. I am about to make the fourth journey across the country (from the Southwest to the Midwest) with my husband, two children, two dogs, and a parrot.

Big moves, like car accidents, can be extremely stressful. Heck, last time our move involved a car accident. I remember reading once that moving was in a list of the top five stressful life experiences along with divorce and a death in the family.

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However, that is not how any of us are feeling about this move. We are more than happy to pack each and every belonging up again, drive for three long days with dogs crawling all over us, and suffer stiff lower backs from all of that sitting just for the joy of returning to Lake Hanska.

Just typing Lake Hanska makes me smile. We really want to be back. I could write an entire book on what I miss about living there.

We arrived in Las Vegas one year ago and have counted the days until we could return.

It is a miracle that we are able to get out of here in one year. One might say it was unlucky to have had to move here at all? I don't think so.

I won't say that this is the last time we will have to move away and return. How could I know that for sure?

My grandmother married and divorced the same man three times! I think repeat experiences just happen to run in my family.

Luckily, even with an imminent move, I have not dismantled my kitchen yet.

Let's be honest, the move is four days away and I haven't packed a single box. I am still cooking and living life as usual. Last night, Claud taught me how to make an amazing French dish: Fricassee de Poulet. A fricassee is a classic dish in which poultry or meat is first seared in fat, then braised with liquid until cooked.

Then, you finish it off by making a delicious creamy sauce out of the liquid.

You will need about an hour and a half of time to prepare the meal. I just acted like I had nothing better to do and cooked away (packing-shmacking).

The fricassee tasted so delicious. We ate it without ever thinking about packing or driving or stress of any sort.

I know for certain, I will be making this again and again and again. Hopefully, I will learn something new with each repeat experience.



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