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Author Notes: This is a lost-and-found recipe -- one I never got from my grandmother but have recreated over time. Though it was always called chicken fricassee, it's not about the chicken, but the meatballs.
It may be a simple, heimish dish, but it exemplifies the essence of Jewish cooking. The thinking is not dissimilar to nose-to-tail cooking or cooking-with-scraps: not just to make dishes with tam (flavor; sort of the Yiddish equivalent of umami), but to make good use of everything. For instance, the recipe uses chicken parts: my grandmother would have used necks, backs, and feet, with maybe a few wings thrown in (I use all wings for convenience), as well as chicken fat she'd saved and rendered. She would have served this with mashed potatoes made not with dairy but with chicken fat and egg, but it wouldn't hurt to have some challah on hand for dunking. —louisez
Chicken and broth
- 4 tablespoons chicken fat or oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced (with leaves if possible)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups water or chicken broth
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- salt and pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Saute onions, carrots, and celery in chicken fat or oil till onion is softened. Add flour and stir well. Add water, stirring constantly, till mixture boils. Add wings and simmer one hour.
- Combine all meatball ingredients, handling gently. Form into small balls. Drop into fricassee and cook slowly, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Add more water only if needed to just cover meatballs.
- Let cool. Remove wings, remove meat from them and return meat to broth. Adjust seasoning if needed. It's a good idea to make a day ahead to let the flavors meld. Serve with mashed potatoes and/or challah.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Jewish-Inspired Recipe