Chicken Fricassee with Meatballs

Updated July 06, 2016

This was one of our favorite stand-bys and has become so in my household. It can be made ahead and freezes well, and it is delicious with either rice or cooked broad noodles.

4 servings



Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionFamily Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free



Taste and Texturemeaty, savory, spiced


  • 1 broiling or frying chicken (3 to 3½ pounds) with all giblets except the liver
  • Double recipe for meatballs
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons butter, margarine, or schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), in that order of preference
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 small (individual size) can tomato juice
  • 1 to 2 cups water, as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled


The chicken should be cut and disjointed into 8 pieces. The breast and thighs can also be cut in half again, if you prefer small pieces. Clean and singe, if necessary. Prepare the meatballs using 1 pound of ground beef and doubling the other ingredients in the recipe.

In a 2½-quart Dutch oven, slowly sauté the chopped onion in 3 tablespoons of the fat until the onion is soft and yellow; do not let it brown. Remove and reserve. Add more fat to the pot if needed and brown the chicken pieces lightly until all sides are pale golden brown. Do this in several batches, as the chicken will not brown if crammed into the pan. Remove the chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and reserve.

Return the onions to the pot and sprinkle with paprika. Sauté for a minute or two, until the paprika loses its raw smell. Add the tomato juice and 1 cup water.

Return the chicken to the pot and add the garlic cloves. The liquid should come about halfway up the chicken. Cover and simmer gently but steadily for 20 minutes. Gently and carefully add the meatballs to the pot, moving the chicken aside to make room and shaking the pot intermittently to separate the meatballs. These will be fragile while raw, but once cooked they will become firm and will not crumble or stick together.

Add more liquid to the pot if needed. Simmer, loosely covered, for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken and meatballs are done. Remove the chicken and meatballs and skim the fat from the gravy. Return the chicken and meatballs and reheat, checking, the seasoning as you do so. Serve the chicken and meatballs with rice or noodles.

If you plan to make this in advance, add a little water before reheating.


Tomato juice was sometimes eliminated and only water used. Chicken stock can be used instead of water, but the flavor is, strangely enough, more intense and interesting when water is used, with or without tomato juice.

Basically, this is a version of Hungarian chicken paprikash, but the Jewish version, because of kosher laws, eliminates sour cream. If you like, you can beat 2 tablespoons of sour cream into the gravy after the fat has been skimmed from it. Do not boil once the sour cream has been added; reheat by bringing to a slight simmer.



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traditionally a fricasse of chicken is made with small parts,like wings,necks,pipiks(parboiled), and legs from a small broiler. you can brown meatballs,very small, and add when chicken is done. this is not a tomato sauce dish and sauce should be done with something sweet and fruity or sweet and sour. duck sauce and lemon juice is good. for a less fatty dish, remove skin from legs. brown onions and add wings,etc.(kosher) and lightly flour in the pan. pipiks must be parboiled ahead of time. after chicken parts are cooked on both sides, add liquid, duck sauce and lemon juice. stir and lower heat. simmer until done- varies by size of parts,but 30-40 minutes should be enough. add liquid to keep sauce from cooking out. this dish is served before the main course with a slice of challah to mop up the delicious sauce. the recipe above is a main course and is potted chicken..

This recipe is 100% on target. This is a true version of real galicianer (eastern european) chicken fricassee, exactly as my mother and grandmother made. I used, as they did, only "schmaltz" (rendered chicken fat) for frying.


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