Chicken Fricassee over Puff Pastry Shell, Garlic Green Beans with Pancetta, and Stewed Okra

We love to cook and get family together to celebrate any time we can. We had good reason to celebrate as it’s our 34th (Erin and myself) and my Mom and Dad’s 61th wedding anniversary. Wow, how time flies when you are having fun! Right, baby? My mom and dad, along with my in-laws, came to the house to celebrate. We decided to go old school and cook a chicken fricassee served over a puff pastry shell, garlic green beans with pancetta, and stewed okra. Amanda also pitched in with some incredible divinity pie and Louisiana pecan balls. Not exactly Keto/low carb, but heck, we deserved to be treated with the anniversary and all!

Chicken fricassee is a pretty simple recipe and even one that I can’t hardly mess up. It’s basically a chicken stew without all the carrots and potatoes that are in a traditional chicken stew and but starts from a roux. Let’s take a look at the ingredients:

Note: I didn’t put out the white onions, green onions, garlic and bell peppers. I prefer fresh from the garden but I didn’t have any green beans and a limited supply of my Orange Jing Okra. I also didn’t put out the can of roasted diced tomatoes for the stewed okra.

The first thing you need to do is cut up your seasonings (GG’s terminology) so you are prepared to add it as you get your fricassee on! This includes 2 white onions, 1 bunch green onions, 1 sweet bell pepper, 1 stalk of celery and 3 or 4 cloves of garlic.

Cutting up seasonings (chinese pink celery from the garden)

I use a whole chicken hen for this recipe. Go ahead and cut it up. I did pretty well as I didn’t cut myself this time!

Season your chicken before browning it. I used some fresh ground pepper and some “Slap Your Mama” Cajun seasoning.

To get things going, pour four tablespoons of vegetable or canola oil into your cast iron pot and bring to medium-high temperature. Once hot, go ahead and put your chicken in. Brown it on all sides and remove.

Next step is to add 4 tablespoons of all purpose flour to the oil in the cast iron pot, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix in the flour so no lumps are left and keep moving around the flour so it doesn’t burn. You will have some tidbits from the chicken in the roux. Don’t worry about that, just keep moving the flour around until it gets dark brown.

Once you’ve got your roux to the right darkness, its time to add 4 cups of chicken broth. Add the 4 cups of broth and bring to a boil. Add all the seasonings and cook until soft.

Cut back to med low and and add chicken back to pot. Cover and cook for 2 hours or until meat is coming off the bone. About 15 minutes before serving, add some chopped green onion and some chopped parsley (fresh from the garden).

For the sides, I used some green okra from the store mixed with some of my Orange Jing okra from the garden. I put a can of diced roasted tomatoes, 1/2 a small onion, and okra in a pot, with a little beef broth and let that cook down. It needs a good bit of time to stew so don’t wait to the last minute to start this. For the green beans, I fried up some pancetta in a sauce pan. I added some beef broth to deglaze the pan. Add the green beans and an entire clove of elephant garlic (minced) and put the top on the pan and let that steam until ready.

One of the unique ingredients is the use of the puff pastry shells. Erin’s grandmother, GG, served her chicken fricassee in the puff pastry shell and it both looks and tastes great. Throw those in the oven for about 20 minutes to get ready to plate.

Now, we are ready to plate. Let’s add some chicken fricassee into the puff pastry shell.

We can now add some garlic green beans with pancetta and our smothered okra.

Voila! It looked and tasted out of this world.

Show the final plating

And finally, after eating all this great food, Amanda served her divinity pie and Louisiana pecan rolls for desert.

We love to get together as a family and make memories. The wedding anniversaries were a great excuse to cook, eat, and celebrate together. The food was delicious and the company was even better. Even with COVID-19 around, take the time to make memories now, when you can. You can do it in a smart and social distancing manner, but go ahead and make memories with family and friends.

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Chicken Fricassee Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp All purpose Flour
  • 4 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 large chicken (cut up)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 – 3 white onions (diced)
  • 1 bunch green onions (diced)
  • 1 bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 stalk celery (diced)
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 4 or 5 sprigs parsley (diced)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Cajun Seasoning to taste
  • Puff Pastry Shells (frozen)
  1. Chop up your vegetables and put them in a bowl, cover and place them in the refrigerator. Hopefully, these are fresh vegetables from the garden!
  2. Put oil in cast iron pot and bring heat up to medium-high.
  3. Prepare whole chicken by cutting it up into individual pieces. Season your chicken using salt and pepper, along with “Slap Your Mama” or other favorite cajun seasoning.
  4. Place chicken into hot cast iron pot and brown your chicken on all sides. Once browned, remove chicken and set aside.
  5. Next, we need to make a roux. Add 4 tbsp of all-purpose flour to the oil 1 tbsp at a time. Keep stirring the roux using a wooden flat edge spoon (preferably) or whisk so you keep moving the particle of flour around and so that it doesn’t stay in the same place and possibly burn. Note that there may be some skin and some meat from the chicken in the oil and that’s okay. That’s flavor. Keep cooking your roux until it turns a medium dark brown color.
  6. Combine 4 cups of chicken broth with the roux. Bring it back up to a boil.
  7. Add in the cut up seasonings (vegetables). Cook until seasonings get soft.
  8. Add the browned chicken back to the pot, along with the juices. Cut heat back to medium -low and cook until meat is falling off the bone which usually takes at least 1 hour.
  9. With about 15 minutes to go, add the parsley and some additional chopped green onions.
  10. Serve over puff pastry shell or white rice.

Now, enjoy the simple life by sitting with your family and friends. Celebrate whatever the occasion and make memories.  Please let us know how you like this post or have suggestions on future posts.

Enjoy! Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

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Garden Update (08-21-2020)

Our backyard organic raised-bed and container garden is doing pretty well considering it’s getting to end of the summer. I’ve already pulled most of my Spring/Summer plants as they just won’t continue to produce and thrive in this heat (95 F with heat index over 100 F). We had tons of tomatoes, tomatillos and cucumbers already this spring/summer. We also got to enjoy some squash, eggplants, cantaloupes, (new) potatoes, ground cherries, beets, carrots and some fresh green beans. Erin will have some good fall decorations from the ornamental corn we grew, although the sweet corn didn’t do too well this year. The squash plants produced well early but the squash vine borer grubs killed those plants and some succession planting of squash as well. They also killed some gourd plants. All in all, we had a good spring/summer garden harvest with peppers and okra really enjoying the heat now!

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Partial view of the raised bed garden

We need to start preparing for the Fall garden. One of the things that I always do in the Spring and in the Fall is put pine straw down in the walkways to keep the weeds down. I’ve used red pine bark in the past but that tends to float away from where it was placed due to the heavy downpours we often have.

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Placing pine straw on walkways to help keep weeds from growing
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Croix likes the pine straw

We’ve also need to start thinking about planting some seeds for our Fall garden. I’ve gotten started with some Cauliflower and will plant some Broccoli and Cabbage seeds this weekend. I will be planting some garlic like the last few years but will wait until around Oct 1st. Other plants for the Fall garden include beets, turnips, lima beans, brussel sprouts, chinese cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, lettuce, sweet peas and spinach. What else do you like to grow? Hint: Check your state’s recommendations on when to plant crops. For example, LSU’s AgCenter has a planting guide for Louisiana.

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Cauliflower plants from seed (almost 2 weeks old)

Finally, to get ready for Fall planting, I’ll work in some of my own compost from my compost tumbler, along with composted cow and chicken manure, mushroom compost, some perlite, and some sphagnum peat moss or coco coir to increase quality and volume of soil. I usually mix in a little Azomite Rock dust for a micro-nutrient boost.

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Fall garden compost and pine straw

As for the existing plants, the jalapeño peppers are doing quite well. I’ve got a couple of varieties including Craig’s Grande, Orange Spice, Pumpkin Spice and Brown Jalapeño peppers. I’ll make cowboy caviar (a sweet and spicy mix) and can them along with stuffing some with cream cheese and sausage and maybe wrap some bacon around them for appetizers.

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Craig’s Grande Jalapeño Pepper
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Pepper, Orange Spice Jalapeño

I have some Ozark Giant and Purple Beauty Bell Peppers growing as well.

Pepper, Purple Beauty

I planted a couple of varieties of mustard greens and they are coming up fast. There’s also a some collard greens mixed in. I’ll wait another few weeks and plant some more (succession planting)

Japanese Giant Red and Green Wave Mustard Greens, along with a few Georgia Southern Collard Greens

I have some cucumbers on a “cattle panel” trellis that have been very productive but are slowing up now due to the heat. Earlier in the summer they were so productive we couldn’t eat and give enough of them away.

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Tokiwa “Tokyo Green” Cucumber

I planted two varieties of watermelon, Sugar Baby and Stars and Moon (Cherokee). I have this Sugar Baby but can’t wait for the Stars and Moon watermelon to get to size.

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Watermelon, Sugar Baby

The okra is doing well as it loves this time of the year.

Okra, Jing Orange

The squash vine borer has already taken out all but one squash plant and it is has been invaded as well (see picture). I cut 6 of these grubs out from this squash plant. Do any of you have this problem? How do we stop them? This bug is so frustrating!

I have a number of items planted in containers including a Tamarillo tree, Improved Meyer Lemon tree, Goji berry bush, Calamondin Orange, Sam Sweet Cherry tree, figs and blueberry bushes.

Tamarillo fruit on the tree
Goji Berry (looking kind of rough but has been fruiting all summer)

I always have around some herbs as well and use them often in our cooking.

Basil, Thai and Purple
Sage

I always ensure to intersperse various flower varieties to attract pollinators. Without them, most vegetable plants would not fruit. Some flower species, like Marigolds, actually deter certain pests from getting on your good plants so that’s a good flower to plant in the middle of beds.

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Salvia, Victoria
Zinnia
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Strawberry Fields Gomphrena
Tornado Red Cockscomb

I will provide a garden update post every month or so. Please let us know how you like this post or have suggestions on future posts. If you have any questions on any of the plants shown, feel free to drop a comment.

Enjoy! Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

Please LIKE this post. If you have any COMMENTS or QUESTIONS, please post below. Please SUBSCRIBE to our BLOG for additional great content.