It’s the time of year for healthier comfort food! Sometimes that means a warm bowl of soup, a cozy casserole or a mug of hot cocoa. No matter what you’re in the mood for, there are easy ways to lighten up your favorite comfort food dish.
Chicken Fricassee is a classic stewed chicken dish with a creamy sauce. I’ve made it a bit healthier, but it’s still loaded with flavor and will give you all the fall feels.
Here’s how I lightened up Chicken Fricassee:
- Chose skinless chicken (although you can use the skin-on chicken, if you prefer). The skin contains saturated fat, so omitting it is an easy way to reduce the total and saturated fat of this recipe.
- Reduced the amount of half and half needed and gave the option of using evaporated milk, which is available in fat free or low fat (just like milk). I also used more stock than milk.
- I use unsalted chicken stock so I am in charge of how much salt is added to the dish. You can easily alter (reduce) the amount of salt you add to the dish depending on your needs and preferences.
- I added a splash of lemon juice to the sauce in order to help amp up the flavor without adding more salt. Using acidic ingredients like lemon juice (or any citrus juice or vinegar) mimics salt (to a point), so you can use less overall.
- Upped the veggies – I used a ton of onion, carrots, celery and mushrooms.
- Served it with brown rice. You could also serve it with whole wheat pasta. Always serve it with a big green salad to get more veggies in!
Now tell me, what are your secrets for lightening up your favorite comfort food dish?Print
A classic comfort food dish made with stewed chicken in a creamy sauce.
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour or cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks (about 2 pounds), skins on or skins removed
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, peeled and diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 medium stalks celery, diced
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 3–4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper3 cups unsalted chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons half and half or evaporated milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, stemmed and minced
- ¼ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large glass bowl, whisk together the flour or cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, oregano, basil and paprika until combined. Add the chicken pieces and use tongs to toss them to coat. Use the tongs to transfer the chicken pieces to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack, shaking the excess flour mixture off the chicken as it transfers.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stove top casserole dish or heavy bottomed pot to medium or medium-high. Working in batches, if needed, sear the chicken 3-4 minutes per side or until lightly browned and crispy. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on the wire rack. Save the excess flour and set aside.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and reduce the heat to medium or medium-low. Add the onion, carrots, celery and mushrooms (if using) and cook, stirring frequently, 5-6 minutes or until soft. Stir in the garlic, salt and black pepper and sauté another 30-60 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in the excess flour from the chicken dredge to make a roux. Let cook 30-60 seconds or until bubbly.
- Whisk in the chicken stock, then use tongs to add the chicken back to the pot. Cover the pot with the lid and transfer to the oven. Bake 25-35 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
- Remove the lid and stir in the half and half or evaporated milk, lemon juice and thyme. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Make it a Meal: Serve with Sauteed Garlic Brussels Sprouts.
- Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
- Calories: 333
- Sugar: 3g
- Sodium: 405mg
- Fat: 22g
- Saturated Fat: 5g
- Unsaturated Fat: 17g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 9g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 22g
- Cholesterol: 97mg
Keywords: chicken, fricassee, lightened-up, entree, dinner, comfort food