Chicken Madison

  • Prep Time
    20 minutes
  • Cook Time
    3 hours
  • Serving
  • View

This recipe is inspired by a true uptown doyenne from a by-gone era.  Mrs. Williams was my (deceased) husband’s mother who from all accounts ruled her home like a gracious five star general (which I recognize is a contradiction in terms).  There were formal dinners, strict rules of etiquette and lots of polished silver.  Her portrait hung in our home: she strongly resembled Mrs. Drysdale from the Beverly Hillbillies and I suspect her personality was similarly austere and haughty.  Somehow I wound up with a packet of her handwritten recipes which reveal much about her life and household.  Many of her recipes start with instructions for Mrs. Lucas the servant to cut up a chicken. One of my favorite memories is of my husband Frank, without a hint of irony, telling friends at dinner that, “World War II was tough on my mother… all of her servants got drafted!”  Deciphering Mrs. Williams’ fancy cursive writing is a challenge, but I finally figured out that she called this chicken recipe Chicken Madison.  I have no idea why unless she got the receipt from Mrs. James Madison (just kidding).  But I love it that she planned her menu around drinking cocktails with guests!  I’m sure her servants were in the kitchen keeping an eye on things.  What a different time.  As I have said before, written recipes are really stories.  When I made this dish, I was puttering around the house with a glass of wine in my hand while I watched the gorgeous Dev Patel in “Monkey Man” (2024).  This is the kind of dish that gives you time to do your own thing and enjoy the evening (if that means having cocktails with your guests, great!)  But sure to serve this over creamy potatoes or rice or pasta with crusty bread to sop up the beautiful sauce.  Cheers to Mrs. Williams… and to Mrs. Lucas too.


Chicken Fricasee


    Chop your vegetables and set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven or your new red LE CREUSET BRAISER until a bit of flour sizzles.

    Step 1

    Coat the chicken pieces with flour that you have seasoned with salt and pepper. Shake off the excess flour.

    Step 2

    Fry the chicken in the hot oil. When it is golden brown, remove it and set it aside on a rack or platter.

    Step 3

    Wipe out the pan. You don't need as much oil to fry the vegetables as you needed for the chicken.

    Step 4

    Over medium high heat, saute the Trinity vegetables until they are translucent. Add the garlic after the onions are already cooked a little because the garlic will burn if you toss it in at the same time as the onions.

    Step 5

    When the vegetables have a little color, deglaze the pot with the white wine and let the alcohol cook down quite a bit. Stir often.

    Step 6

    Add the chicken stock. Let the liquids cook and bubble for about 15 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Season with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.

    Step 7

    Put the chicken back in the pot, skin side up. Cover and put the Dutch oven in a 325 degrees to 350 degrees oven. Cook for up to 3 hours, checking every so often to make sure there is enough liquid and that the chicken is mostly submerged. Cook until the chicken is tender. This will take longer at 325 degrees, obviously, so you have to adjust your cooking time to the temperature of your oven. I like to cook the chickn until it is falling off the bone.

    Step 8

    Take the Dutch oven out of the oven and remove the chicken pieces and place them on a platter. Reduce the sauce if necessary over medium heat on the stove top. When you have the sauce the consistency you want, and you have seasoned it to your taste buds, return the chicken and let heat through.

    Step 9

    Serve over mashed potatoes and garnish with parsley. A rich white wine, but one with some acidity, would be lovely with this dish.

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