This recipe for Chicken Fricasee is a quick and light version of the classic French stew. / Photo by Linda Gassenheimer/TNS

Here's a quick and light version of a classic French stew, chicken fricassee. Here I've shortened the usual slow cooking time for the stew, but it captures the essence of the dish's traditional flavor. Microwaveable brown rice, which takes only a minute to microwave, helps make this an easy, one-pot meal.

Shiitake mushrooms and a hint of nutmeg add flavor. Shiitake mushrooms have a dark brown cap and meaty texture. They're available in most markets year-round, but you can use any type of dried wild mushroom or portobello mushrooms.


- You can buy sliced or diced onion and celery in the market to save preparation time.

- You can use dried tarragon instead of fresh tarragon.



- To buy: 1 package microwaveable brown rice; 3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs; 1 bunch celery; 1 carton unsalted chicken broth; 1 red bell pepper; 1 container shiitake mushrooms; 1 bunch fresh tarragon; 1 bottle ground nutmeg; 1 multigrain baguette.

- Staples: olive oil, onion, garlic, flour, salt, black peppercorns.


Chicken Fricassee

1 package microwaveable brown rice to make 1 1/2 cups

3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup sliced onion

1 cup sliced celery

3 crushed garlic cloves

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup unsalted chicken broth

1 cup sliced red bell pepper

1 1/2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

2 slices multigrain baguette

Microwave rice according to package instructions. Measure 1 1/2 cups, and save remainder for another meal. Set aside.

Remove visible fat from the chicken thighs, and cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Heat oil in a medium-size nonstick skillet. Add chicken, and brown about 2 minutes. Turn chicken over, and add onion, celery and garlic. Saute 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables and chicken, and stir until absorbed. Add chicken broth, red bell peppers, mushrooms and reserved 1 1/2 cups rice. Stir to combine all ingredients. Cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Divide between two dinner plates, and sprinkle tarragon on top. Serve bread on the side.

Yield 2 servings.

Per serving: 622 calories (24% from fat),16.5 grams fat (3.2 grams saturated, 6 grams monounsaturated), 156 milligrams cholesterol, 46 grams protein, 70.1 grams carbohydrates, 7.3 grams fiber, 383 milligrams sodium.

— Recipe by Linda Gassenheimer