What can I do next time to insure tender chicken?
From one of her cookbooks or from one of the bazillion recipes posted online?
The recipe in 'From Julia Child's Kitchen'. First the chicken is briefly sautéed in butter and then cooked in wine/broth for 20-25 minutes. I took the breasts out after about 20 because I was worried they would be tough - and they were. But so were the thighs after additional cooking. Do you think it's the chicken??
I've made that recipe with great success. I think, like HalfPint said, it could be that your Chicken was a larger (older) bird. Lately I have had the same issues. I have this chicken thigh roasted with lemon, garlic and root vegetables that I adore. Out of the blue, without changing a darn thing, they turned out dry and tasted like sawdust. Same sized thigh, same technique. I'd try it again, but maybe see if you can find a smaller (aka younger) chicken.
What kind of chicken did you use? If you used a stewing chicken, it may explain why the meat was so tough. Stewing chickens need low, slow cooking since they tend to be older and tougher. Broiler-fryers might be your best choice for this fricassee since the cooking time is so short. Here is a nice guide for the types of chickens: http://www.recipetips.com/kitchen-tips/t--156/types-of-chicken.asp
No, it was just a regular supermarket chicken. Very frustrating as the rest of the dish (sauce, onions, mushrooms, etc.) was great!
A regular cut-up supermarket chicken is likely no more than 8-10 weeks old. Even so-called roasting chickens aren't much older. Almost all of those chickens are the so-called Cornish White, which is bred to grow quickly. (After 10 weeks they can barely stand up, they are so heavy.) And actual old chickens, aka stewing hens, aren't common in supermarkets. I'd say it was the cooking time and/or possibly too high a cooking heat, since I've made that recipe too. The heat should be gentle. The other thing that would make a chicken tough is improper (insufficient) cooling after slaughter, but that wouldn't be a problem in a supermarket.