Pollo con le Cipolle

Fricasseed Chicken with Onions

The quality of creaminess does not belong to cream alone; onions have it too. The creaminess of cooked-down onions acquires a piquant sweetness that in this recipe envelops the fricasseed chicken. To make onions clingingly creamy and tasty, it is worth repeating here what has been said elsewhere: They must first be cooked in a covered pan a long time over low heat, then uncovered and browned lightly.


  • 6 cups onion sliced very thin
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper in a grinder
  • A 2½- to 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup flour, spread on a plate
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac or other grape brandy
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley


  1. Choose a skillet or sauté pan that can subsequently accommodate all the chicken pieces loosely. Put in the onion and olive oil, cover the pan, and turn on the heat to low. Cook the onion slowly, until very soft, for no less than 1 hour.
  2. When the onion is soft, uncover the pan, add salt and generous grindings of pepper, turn up the heat, and sauté the onion until it becomes colored a pale nut brown. Remove from the heat.
  3. Wash the chicken pieces in cold water and pat them thoroughly dry with kitchen towels.
  4. Put the vegetable oil in a smaller skillet and turn on the heat to medium high.
  5. When the oil is hot but not smoking, turn the chicken pieces in the flour, one at a time, shake loose excess flour, and slip the chicken into the pan, as many pieces as will fit comfortably without being crowded.
  6. Cook until a fine golden crust forms on one side, then turn the pieces over and do the other side. When the chicken has formed a crust all over, transfer it with a slotted spoon or spatula to a platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and do another batch.
  7. When all the chicken is done, return the pan with the onion to the fire, turning on the heat to medium high and keeping the pan uncovered. Add the chicken, turning it in the onions 2 or 3 times. Add the brandy, turn the heat down to very low, and cover the pan. Cook for about 45 minutes, turning the chicken occasionally. It is done when the meat feels tender all the way through when pricked with a fork. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.