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How To Make Chicken The French Way

Watch our historic foodways staff cook this recipe, then try it at home

This is one of our favorite chicken recipes from “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy,” by Hannah Glasse. Similar to other fricassees, it was first browned and then finished in a broth. The chicken picks up the flavor from the grill, but still stays moist and flavorful from the lemon, wine, and broth.

Watch the video below to learn how we make this recipe in our kitchens based on the 18th-century description below, then use our 21st-century translation to try the recipe at home!

18th Century

“Chickens dressed the French Way. QUARTER, then broil them, crumble over them a little bread and parsley; when they are half done, put them in a stew-pan, with three or four spoonfuls of gravy, and double the quantity of white wine, salt, and pepper, some fried veal-balls, and some suckers, onions, shallots, and some green gooseberries or grapes when in season; cover the pan close, and let it stew on a charcoal fire for an hour; thicken the liquor with the yolks of eggs, and the juice of lemon; garnish the dish with fried suckers, sliced lemon, and the livers.”

—Glasse, the Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, P. 104.

21st Century


  • 1 chicken, cut into four parts
  • ½ cup golden raisins or grapes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 4 cups white wine
  • 1 tsp. parsley, minced
  • 3 egg yolks (or you may thicken with 1 Tbsp cornstarch and ½ cup water, stir it well, and add it to cook for the last 5 minutes)


  1. Cut the chicken into four parts. Coat lightly with breadcrumbs and parsley. Over low to medium heat, broil or grill for 5-7 minutes or until lightly brown, but the meat is still pink by the joints.
  2. Place chicken in a stewpot with broth, wine, onion, shallot, grapes or raisins, and lemon juice. Simmer for 25 minutes; remove chicken.
  3. In a medium bowl, whip the egg yolks. Gradually add ¼ cup of the sauce to the yolks while stirring to temper the eggs. Be sure not to cook the egg yolks. Stir mixture into the rest of the sauce. Heat gradually until sauce thickens.
  4. Pour sauce over the chicken and serve.


Hannah Glasse (1708-1770)

By far the most well known of the 18th century cookbook authors, Glasse’s “Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy” became the cookbook to have if you lived in Britain at the time. Many editions later, it was still being used in the 1840s when Mrs. Beeton’s works hit the market. Although accused of being ghostwritten, her book was well organized and easy to follow without high, ornate language. The book appealed to the upper as well as the middling ranks.

Glasse, Hannah, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, Revised Edition of 1796, United States Historical Research Service, Schenectady, New York, 1994.

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