My mother is no doubt the best cook I know. Her knowledge of food and its preparation is unparalleled , her seasoning , always perfect but even my lovely mother had a dud recipe…sorry Mama. Of all the dishes my mother made for us (and she cooked fresh every night) this was by far my least favourite. I referred to it as ‘boiled chicken’, to me, a colourless, sad stew of drab chicken and overcooked carrots. I really never enjoyed it but recently stumbled on a recipe for a french version of fricasé and thought my Mom’s signature dish perhaps just needed a fresh perspective…here goes nothing!


  • 8 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
  • 100g pancetta, cubed
  • 3 large cloves garlic, squashed
  • 150g small mushrooms ( I’ve used mini portobellini )
  • 1 tbs chopped rosemary
  • small handful of thyme, tightly bound with kitchen string
  • 75ml brandy
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 2 eggs
  • juice of ½ lemon


  1. Season the chicken thighs well with salt
  2. Heat 2tbs olive oil in a wide, heavy based saucepan over a medium high heat and add the chicken pieces, skin side down. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side until evenly browned
  3.  Add the pancetta, mushrooms , garlic, thyme, rosemary and brandy
  4. Now for the fun bit! Get a long match or kitchen flame lighter, stand well back and light the brandy. There will be a terrific bonfire whilst the alcohol cooks off, let the flames die down
  5. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer the chicken for 35-40 minutes until the chicken is cooked through & tender
  6. Remove the chicken pieces to a warmed plate and cover tightly with 2 layers of foil to keep warm whilst you finish off the sauce
  7. Beat 2 eggs in a small bowl with a tablespoon or two of the cooking broth, work quickly, you don’t want to curdle the eggs
  8. Pour the egg mixture into the sauce, along with the lemon juice, whisking constantly and working over a medium heat. Allow the sauce to thicken slightly
  9. Place the chicken pieces back in the sauce and serve with some mash or fluffy rice and steamed veg. Enjoy