Braised Chicken with Prunes in Lemon Sauce

2 Tbs butter or margarine
2 chickens, cut into serving pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
4 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cups or more chicken stock
3 bay (laurel) leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
24 pitted prunes


2 Tbs butter or margarine
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs suga

Heat the butter in a large skillet over moderate heat and brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Remove the chicken pieces and saute the carrots, celery, and onion in the same skillet for 5 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, chicken stock, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes, turning the chicken pieces and stirring the liquid occasionally. Add more chicken stock if necessary; there should be a little liquid in the bottom of the skillet at all times. Add the prunes and simmer covered for 5 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, lemon juice, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove the chicken pieces and prunes to a warm serving platter. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Pour the sauce into the skillet and stir to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the sauce over the chicken, or serve it in a gravy boat.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings