Posts Tagged ‘grandmother’

Chicken Fricassee???

March 14, 2022

My family isn’t at all French. We’re probably 75% Cornish and 25% Norwegian. The meal I most requested from my grandmother, a truly wonderful southern cook, was Chicken Fricassee though. Or that’s what she called the bone in chicken in gravy, cooked in a bag if memory served, over rice that she whipped up to my constant demands. I’ve chased whatever that was for my entire adult life, though I don’t frankly remember very much about it except how satisfied it made me feel. It was hearty, and savory, and like any good southern girl “smothered” is my favorite adjective. This is my version.

6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs patted dry w/ paper towel
2 tbs bacon fat
2 leeks, quartered/rinsed/sliced
16 oz button mushrooms, quartered
1 tbs dijon mustard
2 lemons, juiced
4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs cornstarch in 2 tbs water slurry
1/3 cup chopped tarragon

Set a straight sided sauté pan on a medium heat. Liberally season the chicken thighs on all side. Add bacon fat to pan and allow to render. Then place the thighs, skin side down in the fat. Brown them on all sides until a deep mahogany color forms. Also great… encourage that brown-ness on the bottom of the pan. That’s the flavor.

Remove browned thighs to a plate and add the diced/cleaned leeks. Soften the leeks, then add the mushrooms until they’re also browned. Sometimes I need to lid the pan w/ the leeks and sometimes not. Just don’t let them burn. Drizzle in a little more bacon fat or butter if necessary to keep it all from sticking. Squeeze in the lemon juice to deglaze, then add the stock and mustard. Let that come to a boil and reduce slightly. Add S&P, and cream. Add the starch/water slurry and stir until uniformly thick.

Add the browned chicken back to the pan with the skin side up. The darkly colored tops should sit proud of the liquid. Put the lid on and cook on low, just barely a simmer, for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and cook another 5 or 10 minutes. Sprinkle with tarragon.

Serve over rice or egg noodles.


Jean’s Oatmeal Cookies.

May 19, 2008

I was raised by a pair of southern women cooks, my mom and my grandmother. Jean grew up in the depression, cooking for a family of six by the time she was able to drag a chair up to a stove. She was indominatable, my grandmother. Standing all of 5″ tall, she weighed in around 92 pounds. However, for almost 20 years after my Pa died, Jean ran two family ranches by herself. She brought the hay in every year, and cared for a herd of around 50 adult cows. The 280 acres she loved in Oakalla, Tx have always been amoung the most fertile in the county.

When she allowed herself to cook the way she wanted, everything dripped with bacon grease and the house almost constantly smelled like onions cooking in a heavy pan. There was nothing healthy about her kitchen, but out of it came every taste I long for when I’m sad or lonely.

She could be at times one of the hardest women I’ve ever known. She once threatened to throw me out of her truck for breaking down into tears. Usually Jean was full of affection though, and smiled brightly when she saw my sister or me.

These are her oatmeal cookies. I admit that they turn out a little different every time I make them. Jean didn’t write anything down, so this recipe is my mother’s transcription. I have never voluntarily consumed a raisin in my life, so I always use dark chocolate instead of them. I also don’t heed Mom’s suggestion to add more sugar. I usually cut it back a little actually. I add more pecans, use buttermilk instead of sweet milk, butter instead of Crisco, and double the amount of salt. Play around with it as you wish.

Jean’s Oatmeal Cookies (with annotations by Mom)
Sift together and set aside:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cloves
In a big mixer add:
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar} you may use 1/2 cup more if you like
3/4 cup granulated sugar }
2 eggs unbeaten
1/3 cup milk
1 tbs. vanilla extract
Stir into batter:
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup raisins – more if you like-HA HA
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Cream sugar and shortening -add eggs and milk and flavoring. Blend. Add sifted flour mixture. Mix well. Add oats, raisins, and pecans. Drop by heaping teaspoons on cookies sheet and bake at 350 degrees until light brown, about 12 min. She also added coconut, and chocolate chips sometimes.