Chicken Fricassee and “Ruhlman’s Twenty” Cookbook Giveaway!

Michael Ruhlman's Weekday Coq au Vin

I love cookbooks.  Old ones, new ones, cookbooks with stories and cookbooks with beautiful photographs.  I love the obscure cookbook that no one is raving about; but the author is clever and talented, and the recipes are fresh and practical.

So in honor of the new year, and my love of all things food, I’m giving away cookbooks during the month of February!

But I’m so excited I can’t wait until February.  So I’m giving away the first book in January.

20 Techniques, 100 Recipes... Divine!

Ruhlman’s Twenty, by Michael Ruhlman.   A book of 20 cooking techniques and 100 recipes that will allow the home chef to become a super star in the kitchen.  And of course I had to give one of the recipes a test run.  The Weekday Coq au Vin is divine.   A most aromatic and delicious dish that was truly simple to prepare, but tasted like it had been simmering for hours.

To enter, leave a comment on this post.  Tell me what you’d most like to learn to prepare for dinner.  And that’s it.  You’re entered to win “Ruhlman’s Twenty”.   I’ll draw the name of one lucky Fabulous Foodie on Friday, January 20th.  Good luck everyone!

While were waiting for the exciting news, here’s another delicious and simple braised chicken dish that I prepare all winter long.  Serve over creamy polenta and I promise you’ll want to lick you plate!

Chicken Fricassee


3 ½ – 4 ½ lbs Chicken pieces (thighs and legs work best)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and Pepper

8 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup dry red wine

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 28oz can diced tomatoes

2 3inch sprigs of fresh thyme

¼ Teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 bay leaf

Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Creamy Polenta (recipe follows)


Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Heat the butter and oil over medium high heat in a heavy bottom straight sided skillet or stock pot.  Place the chicken pieces in the pan skin side down and brown each side about 3-5 minutes.  Remove the chicken to a platter and set aside.

Spoon out all but a few tablespoons of oil remaining in the pan.  Add the garlic and sauté for 30-45 seconds.  Once the garlic is fragrant, add the red wine and vinegar.  Let the wine simmer for a few minutes and then stir in the crushed tomatoes, red pepper, thyme and bay leaf.  Place the chicken back into the skillet and bring the liquid to a boil.  Then decrease the heat to low and cook for about 30-45 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Taste the sauce for seasoning and adjust with additional salt or pepper.  Serve over Creamy Polenta and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Slightly adapted from a recipe by the brilliant Chef Virginia Willis

Creamy Polenta 

3 Cups milk

½ Cup quick cook polenta (if you can’t find quick cook, use regular polenta and follow the package directions substituting the broth or water for milk)

¼ Cup grated parmesan or Romano

Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the milk in a 4 quart sauce pan stirring as you bring it to a boil.  While stirring, add the polenta.  Reduce the heat to low and continue to keep the polenta at a simmer for about 5 minutes.  Once the polenta has thickened, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.  Lightly salt and pepper to taste.

Plate the polenta and then ladle the Fricassee and extra sauce over the polenta.  Enjoy!



  1. Karista – I’ve been eyeing this book – so glad to read your review and see the giveaway! I’d really love to learn to make fresh pasta. It seems that people who know how can just about do it with their eyes closed, but I’m intimidated! Oh, and thank you for the gorgeous winter pictures – it sure looks cozy at your house.

  2. I have to agree with others. Tamales is something I have been wanting to learn for a while, and just haven’t researched it out yet. I would love to see a Tamale post for sure!

  3. Hola Karista this recipe looks delicious, I’ll try it for sure. I also love cookbooks and this one looks very nice, it is very kind of you to gave it away.
    I would love to try more recipes from Greek cuisine, so let me know if you have any especial recipe. Saludos from Spain….

    • Hola Katya! I too adore Greek cuisine and all the delicious flavors used in preparing Greek food. I’ll have to think about a favorite Greek recipe to post. Thanks so much for your comment!! Take care and enjoy your week.

  4. I’m with Joan. Preparing tamales is one of those things I *need* to learn to do.

  5. Judy Drew says:

    I open a great cookbook or read a fabulous blog and want to try everything, BUT sweets are a no-no, green is healthy and load up on proteins !!! Help what does a ” foodie ” do !!! ok I think soups are the way to go in the cold months of winter, so point me to the best Oxtail Soup on the planet, I know you have the secret !!!

    • Judy, I cook for a living but I’m exactly the same! I see a fabulous blog or really good cookbook and I want to try everything. 🙂 Proteins and greens are the two best things to eat and eat together. Here’s a lovely Oxtail Soup from my colleague over at Simply Recipes. I like this recipe as she grew up with Oxtail Soup and fully understands what it should taste and feel like. Enjoy!

      • Making it now, great find at St. Louis Farmers market awesome oxtails!! Here I go, this will be a great air-freshner; calling friends to join in !!
        Thank you for the link, will let you know the outcome

  6. I’d love to learn to make cream of mushroom soup!

  7. I’m a pretty adventursome cook but I’ve never tried making tamales so I’d like to learn to make those.

  8. Kelly Stocking says:

    I don’t know if I could narrow it down to just ONE thing I want to master. I learned to cook from my Mom & Grandma, both of whom hated to cook and so weren’t very good at it…and couldn’t have cared less. But, I LOVE to make things that my family loves. I want my kids and grandkids to remember fondly the holidays (or the weekend…) and the yummies I made for them. My youngest daughter is 5 and she is SO picky. My oldest is 23 (with a 2 yo son) and they aren’t quite as picky. I would love to have some secrets of the best chefs, the things that Southern Grandmas have passed down through the generations, to give my meatloaf or fried chicken a little “wow factor”. Thanks for the chance!!!

    • What a lovely gift to give your children, the gift of cooking! I’ve got an Italian meatloaf that I prepare for my clients. I’m not a huge meatloaf fan, but I love this recipe. I’ll definitely try to post this one. It’s simple, delicious and perfect for a weeknight or Sunday dinner. Thanks for commenting Kelly!

  9. This looks like a great cookbook; thanks for the chance to win it. I’d really like to learn how to make falafel so that it’s not greasy or too dry inside. Also, really tasty bean, tofu or vegetable burgers. I’ve tried all of these but had limited success.

    • Thanks so much for your comment! I love veggie burgers, great recipe idea for the summer. I too have had limited success with veggie burgers but love a grilled portobello burger.

  10. Kelley {mountain mama cooks} says:

    This chicken looks amazing! I really want to learn how to make tamales, have you ever made them? It’s on my list!

    • Thanks Kelly! I was completely impressed with Ruhlmans Weekday Coq au Vin. Divine! I’ve never made tamales but I’ve watched my sister in law make them. She’s from Colombia and prepares the most delicious Colombian tamales. I have dreams of spending an entire weekend making tamales. Someday 🙂

  11. I would love to be able to cook a dinner. I try but it really isn’t that good. I tried once to make Chicken Limone and well let’s just say it was Pucker Chicken.

    • Maureen, you make me laugh! It’s not always the cook, but sometimes the recipe. Start with recipes with just a few ingredients. A fantastic chef is Jamie Oliver. I really love his newer books using just a few fresh ingredients to make a quick dish. My pork saltimbocca is a lovely dish with just a few ingredients. Check out the video on the right side bar of the blog.

  12. I would love to learn more about cooking ethnic foods. I”m familiar with Indian but there are so many more wonder cultures, foods, and spices to explore with.

    • Julie! Me too! There are so many herbs, spices and veggies in ethnic cooking that are so healthy for us to eat. Not to mention, delicious. Thanks for commenting!!

  13. I cook a lot of vegetarian/vegan dishes and usually just simple meat dishes, so I would love to learn more interesting, unique dishes like the mentioned above – Coq au Vin!

  14. I cook an awful lot of things, but one thing I’ve never tried is souffle – I really should learn how to make jolly good, savory souffles!

  15. Debbie Crawford says:

    I’ve never been a “fancy” cook because I’ve always felt in order to be one, it took so much time in the kitchen; something I don’t have much of!! So I’d love to be able to cook some really yummy and easy dishes that don’t take forever and don’t require a culinary degree!! 😉

    • Debbie, As always you hit the nail on the head! Like me, you want to prepare a delicious meal, you don’t want to spend your entire evening in the kitchen. Well, I’ve got some delish dishes to post that I know you’re gonna love. My goal this year is to concentrate more on “Weeknight Fresh” (the title of my cookbook if it ever gets finished) meals that utilize seasonal fresh ingredients but are simple and delicious. And people will think you have your culinary degree. 🙂

  16. I would love to learn to cook a really good Beef Wellington to wow my dinner guests. It’s also my husband’s favourite dish so I’d be in his good books too!

    • Thanks for commenting! I’ve got a great Beef Wellington recipe I’ll blog soon! Until then, google the chef “Gordon Ramsey”. He has a short video on how to prepare a delicious Beef Wellington.

  17. Joanna Garza says:

    I most likely would like to learn how to make pot roast dishes.

    • Thanks for commenting Joanna! I love a good pot roast too. Check out the Beef Stracatto on this blog. It’s under “beef” or just use the search at the bottom of the blog. It’s an Italian pot roast, prepared in the slow cooker. Delicious!

  18. Jack Oselinsky says:

    I have been doing more entertaining lately and I find that guests are becoming more enamored of appetizers as they are of main courses. I am now trying to focus of different and more delicious appetizers, including appetizer portions of main meals. The meals are much less formal and allows for more socializing.

    • Hi Jack, Soon you’ll be starting your own food blog! Here’s a fun recipe… Coconut Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders with a Spicy Apricot Sauce. Can be an appetizer or dinner. I’ll post that one soon. But if you want the recipe let me know and I’ll email it to you. 🙂

  19. I’d like to learn how tocook anyting special.

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