Fricassee is an old term, dating back to at least the 15th century. It is a French word, but the exact etymology is uncertain. It is theorized to be a compound of the French frire (to fry) and casser or quasser (to break in pieces).
Description and history 
Many cooking references describe fricassee simply as a French stew, usually with a white sauce. Mastering the Art of French Cooking describes it as "halfway between a saute and a stew" in that a saute has no liquid added, while a stew includes liquid from the beginning. In a fricassee, cut-up meat is first sauteed (but not browned), then liquid is added and it is simmered to finish cooking.
By the general description of frying and then braising in liquid, there are recipes for fricassee as far back as the earliest version of Le Viandier, circa 1300. In 1490, it is first referred to specifically as "friquassee" in the print edition of Le Viandier.
Fricassee of chicken is commonly found, both in modern recipes and antique ones, but virtually all kinds of meat, poultry, fish, and even vegetables alone, can be found in fricassee dishes.
- "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- Fricassée. CooksInfo.com. Published 09/22/2010. Updated 09/23/2010. Web. Retrieved 10/07/2012 from http://www.cooksinfo.com/fricassee
- Child, Julia; Beck, Simone; Bertholle, Louisette (1969). Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Alfred A. Knopf.
- Hess, Karen (1996). Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery. Columbia University Press.
- Rysavy, Francois (1972). A Treasury of White House Cooking. New York, NY, USA: Putnam. p. 250. ISBN 978-0399109393.
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