I made Julia Child's Chicken Fricassee but the chicken came out really tough.

What can I do next time to insure tender chicken?

Cowgirl in the Sand


mainecook61 April 2, 2016
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.
HalfPint March 30, 2016
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
Cowgirl I. March 30, 2016
No, it was just a regular supermarket chicken. Very frustrating as the rest of the dish (sauce, onions, mushrooms, etc.) was great!
Cav March 30, 2016

Without knowing the recipe you followed, or how you followed it, we can but guess what went wrong. However, tough chicken, especially breasts, tends to point to it being over cooked. So cook the chicken for less time and / or at a lower heat, until it's at about 165f inside.

Marinades are surface treatments that don't tenderise inside and I'm not a fan of brines, as I don't like wet salty food, so for me the only way to ensure the food is cooked how you like it is to pay attention to it. Which oftentimes is damn near impossible.
Susan W. March 30, 2016
From one of her cookbooks or from one of the bazillion recipes posted online?
Cowgirl I. March 30, 2016
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??
Susan W. March 30, 2016
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.
Recommended by Food52