This chicken fricassee with its fancy name and rustic look has simple ingredients to satisfy any comfort food craving. Like most classic Cajun dishes a fricassee (pronounced free-kah-say) begins with, you guessed it, a roux. The roux gives the slow-cooked chicken a rich, thick gravy and adds flavor to the dumplings.
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I like to imagine sometimes how these classic Cajun dishes first come about. Maybe this one started off as a pot of chicken gumbo, but something happened that caused it to be left unattended. Like maybe the cow got in the garden and was eating all the mirlitons. Then after the cow was put up the gumbo pot was discovered as a thick stew. And maybe the oven didn’t have time to get hot so they decided to drop the biscuit dough into the gravy to cook them in time for supper. Voila! Chicken Fricassee and Dumplings! It could have happened that way!
Another Chicken Dumpling
The dumplings (however they came about) are my favorite participants in this stew. They are like icing on a cake, but I’m not the only one who favors these golden nuggets. There never seems to be enough in the pot. So many times in returning for seconds I find only fragments of the chewy dumplings left swimming in the gravy. Disappointing at first, but the second helping of rice and gravy is always a good consolation.
Now, this is not the typical southern chicken and dumplings most people are familiar with. Before I moved to Mississippi I didn’t even know about this other dumpling dish. I was a bit surprised and confused the first time I was served my husband’s grandmother’s famous version of it. The meat was off the bone and the dumplings were long and flat in a broth, or gravy, that was missing a roux. It was different for me, but after the first bite I realized there is room in the world for another way to cook chicken with dumplings.
Making The Chicken Fricassee And Dumplings
I mentioned earlier this fricassee begins with a roux, but the actual first few steps are to season then brown the chicken in a pot with some hot oil.
Next thing is removing the chicken to make the roux.
After the roux is browned the Cajun trinity is added and cooked until softened. The water and chicken are added and the meat simmers until tender. The dumpling dough is mixed together while the chicken cooks. Before dropping the dumplings into the gravy chicken is removed from the pot. The dumplings are dropped one by one and cooked for a few minutes on each side.
The last step is adding the meat back into the pot. I throw in a bit of chopped green onions and parsley for taste and everything is stirred together before the fricassee is served over rice.
A rustic chicken fricassee, or chicken stew, with tender dumplings in a rich gravy served over rice is an authentic Cajun dish that satisfies any comfort food craving.
1 large chicken, cut up (5 pounds) 3 teaspoons sea salt 1 teaspoon garlic granules 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup onion, chopped 1/2 cup celery, chopped 1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped 2 garlic pods, pressed 5 cups water chopped parsley and green onions to taste, optional
1 cup flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt black pepper to taste 1 egg 1/3 cup milk
Season chicken with salt, cayenne and garlic granules. Pour vegetable oil into a medium size roaster and add chicken to brown on all sides. Remove meat to a bowl to set aside and add 1/3 cup of flour to the pot of hot oil. Stir until roux is a dark caramel color then add the onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Add water and stir, bring mixture to a boil. Return the chicken to the pot. While the chicken simmers on low to medium-low heat make the dumpling batter by adding all of it’s ingredients into a bowl and stir to mix. Dough will be thick and sticky. After about an hour or when the chicken is tender take it out of the pot and put it back in the bowl. Then drop dumpling batter into the gravy about 1 teaspoon at a time to cook for 3 minutes on each side. The last step is returning the meat to the gravy and adding some chopped parsley and green onion to taste (this is optional.) Stir and serve over rice.
This makes (8) 1-1/4 cup servings.
Serving Size:1-1/4 cup
Just another one of those classic dishes I grew up eating that says “Welcome home, have some comfort!”