There are just those days when it feels like the culinary spirits are conspiring against me. I know I’m headed for one of “those days” when for example, I break the yokes on our morning easy-over eggs, which not coincidentally I have over seasoned, and the toast is 2 shades darker than I would like. Those are the times when I know I’m going to have to be extra careful with anything I touch in the kitchen. So when I begin my day with less than confidence in my culinary aptitude, I prepare this easy chicken dish. I know for a fact that no matter which poltergeist is trying to mess with my kitchen karma that day, it can’t mess up this recipe. This dish is just too unsophisticated for even the lowest in the poltergeist hierarchy to consider it worthy of their efforts. So If you too ever feel like you’re in for a day like I described above, or you know that work is going to be horrendous, and dinner needs to be as simple to prepare as possible, try fixing this ever so easy and foolproof comfort food.  While the chicken is baking, throw some rice in your rice cooker (a must by the way for busy cooks) and open a package of frozen petite peas. (I pour the peas in a small covered casserole, add a dab of butter and a sprinkle of seasoned salt and nuke them for about 2 minutes. You aren’t really cooking the peas; you’re just hotting them up.) Serve the chicken over the rice with the peas on the side, and relax. You might even want to have a glass of wine with dinner. Or, if you really want to make life better, you might have a glass while you prepare dinner and then enjoy another one with dinner. After all, if it was good enough for Julia, it should be good enough for us mere mortals! Oh, and one other little helpful hint. Don’t forget to take the chicken out of the freezer before you leave for work or get otherwise distracted. Having to stop at the store before you get home, or after a hard day of gardening, for example, is just not going to make life better. That’s the wines job!

Oh, and just for the record, this is not a true French fricassée; this is really just an all American fricasee. And yes, there is a difference!

  • 3 T. butter, melted
  • 3 T. flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp. poultry seasoning or more to taste
  • ½ tsp. paprika + more for sprinkling
  • 6-8 pieces of chicken (I use boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts)
  • 1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup

Blend melted butter, flour, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and ½ teaspoon paprika together. Place chicken in a shallow buttered baking dish. Spread one half of the butter mixture on top of each piece. Flip over, and spread the rest on top of each piece. Bake uncovered, in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile whisk the evaporated milk and soup together. Pour over chicken, sprinkle with paprika, and continue baking for 30 minutes or until chicken is very tender.

Side Dish Suggestions: steamed rice or mashed potatoes, simple green veggie or salad

Wine Pairing: a not too oaky Chardonnay or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc