Comfort food is called comfort food for a reason, and regardless of its origin it finds a way of warming your soul and filling your belly in ways that other foods just can’t compare.
I find a certain comfort in enjoying food hailing from anywhere Disney. Whether I’m enjoying it in the parks, on a Disney cruise ship, or in my own home, it tends to be more gratifying than just any other comfort food.
Take for example this chicken fricassee recipe, straight from Biergarten, the buffet style restaurant in the Germany Pavilion at Epcot. It’s studded with fork-tender bites of stewed chicken thighs, sauteed asparagus, and mushrooms, all cloaked in a rich and creamy, thick chicken gravy. Served with a side of rice pilaf, it is truly a vision of comfort.
I’ve never dined at Biergarten myself, and have selective tastes when it comes to German cooking in general, but this chicken fricassee is excellent, and also quite simple to put together.
Note that the sauce may seem on the thin side as you begin the process of simmering all the ingredients together, but it will reduce very nicely when left uncovered to finish cooking. You can also reduce the amount of cream if you prefer. I used closer to about 3/4 cup instead of 1 cup and my result was still delicious (and I probably spared my family at least a few calories that way).
This is definitely a decadent dish, but it will brighten up even the most stressful and gloomy day. Yet another win for at-home Disney cooking!
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 3/4 pound asparagus cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2/3 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup green peas thawed if frozen
- Rice pilaf for serving
- Place chicken in a large pot. Cover with chicken stock. Cover pot and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until cooked through, about 25 minutes.
- Remove chicken from stock and cut meat into 1/2-inch cubes. Keep chicken stock warm over low heat.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, whisking to combine. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, whisking often. Whisk in reserved chicken stock. Add bay leaf; simmer 30 minutes, whisking often. Set aside.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan with deep sides over medium heat; add onion, asparagus, and mushrooms. Cook until onion is translucent. Add chopped chicken and thickened chicken stock mixture.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is very thick, about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slowly stir in cream. Turn heat to medium-low, and cook until thickened, about 7 minutes. Stir in peas. Serve with rice pilaf.
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