Fricassée is a French dish made by half sautéing, half stewing pieces of meat, and serving them in a thick white sauce. My grandpa used to make it often. He would make his fricassée in its even simpler form, by sautéing ground beef in loads of butter along with lots of diced onion and celery. He would then deglaze the pan with hot black tea, add some heavy cream, whole peppercorns, fresh parsley, and there you had it! Sometimes he would add cut up potato cubes in there.
Well, as you can imagine, this recipe is much different. First, you HAVE to use the freshest vegetables you can find. Because the vegetables are the stars, there are very few other seasonings. I sauté the veggies until they are soft, but not browned. I then add some liquid, to continue the cooking, but just enough so that it doesn’t turn into a soup. I removed my grandpa’s beloved cream, obviously, but did not substitute. You can serve with a dollop of fresh coconut yogurt, if you’d like.
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 3-4 shallots, sliced thin
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 fennel bulbs, cored and sliced thin
- 2 carrots, cut into small cubes
- 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cut into small cubes
- 1 large celery stalk, cut into small cubes
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 2 large handful spinach, large leaves torn
- 1/2 to 1 cup vegetable broth
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Garnish: fresh fennel fronds, fresh parsley
In a large straight-edge sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots, garlic, fennel, carrots, bell pepper, celery, thyme sprigs, and generous pinches of sea salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat, stirring often, so the vegetables cook, but do not brown or burn, about 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and mix well. Add some stock, a little bit at a time, so that the vegetables are wet, but the broth isn’t soupy. Add the spinach and toss until just wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings. Bon appétit!