Few persons appreciate what has been happening in the broiler business in recent years. In the 1912-1922 era, I was raising chickens on the farm and each summer sold the cockerels for broilers. If the birds averaged two pounds each at 12 weeks of age, it was considered a good weight. Today, good growers get three-pound broilers and better at 12 weeks; many are close to four pounds, and soon four pounds at 12-14 weeks will be commonplace.
Growers are working with breeds and cross breeds that have white or very light-colored feathers, pick clean easily, and dress off attractively and plump. For years I have been hammering that the sales of three-pound broilers and four-to-six pound roasters could be increased tremendously if growers would give the cooks a more attractive product.
Here is my favorite fricassee.
Have fowl cut up in the market. Wash pieces and check to see they are clean. If the fowl is unduly fat, skin it Too much fat will decrease the meat's flavor. Put the fowl in a kettle and cover with water.
Put in one small onion, one large bay leaf, and two stalks of celery cut into one-half inch pieces. Cook slowly at simmer heat. When the meat is nearly cooked, put in one and a half teaspoons of salt and a dash of pepper. When meat is cooked, from one and a half to two hours, take out meat pieces and discard the bones. Cut meat into easy-size serving pieces.
Thicken stock with flour, using enough to make the gravy consistency that you favor. Return meat to the gravy so it will stay warm. Arrange brown-crusted biscuits, split and generously buttered, on platter. Put plenty of meat on each biscuit half and pour on plenty of gravy.
That, friends, is chicken fricassee — the genuine, country style. On a cold winter's evening after I have been out for the afternoon chopping wood, this is the type of supper dish that just hits the spot.