Chicken á la Creme

It’s suddenly gotten cold again across much of the U.S. We’re all stuck inside, and falling into a rut. Also everyone’s suddenly taken up making sourdough bread.

So … this seems like a great time to post a dish that’s both a perfect cold weather warmer, feels sort of decadent, and really needs that plate of bread on the table.

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Chicken a la creme. This classic French dish is rich and sophisticated, even if it’s sometimes turned into a cafeteria dish or worse … an MRE (cough … chicken a la king … cough). This is not those dishes. Though simple in its flavors, it can really be a showstopper.

This recipe utilizes a classic French technique, a liaison – adding an egg yolk for thickening – that yields a silky, shiny sauce so satisfying that you will be fighting over the last pieces of that quarantine sourdough bread to sop it up.

Chicken á la Creme

Recipe by DrewCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 
Total time

1

hour 

10

minutes

A more sophisticated take on chicken a la king

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 2 cups chicken stock

  • ½ cup dry white wine

  • ½ cup heavy cream

  • 1 medium shallot

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tbsp diced carrot

  • 1 tbsp diced onion

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 300°.
  • Peel, trim, and mince the shallot.
  • Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Add butter to an oven-proof pan over a medium flame. As soon as the butter has stopped sizzling, add the chicken pieces, skin-side down, and cook until well-browned (about 4 minutes).
  • Remove the chicken and set aside.
  • Discard all but 1 tbsp of fat.
  • Add the shallot to the rendered fat and butter, sautéing until translucent.
  • Deglaze the pan with ½ cup of white wine, stirring to free up any bits stuck to the bottom.
  • Add the chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf, and remaining salt and black pepper.
  • Carefully nestle the chicken pieces back into the pan, skin-side up, and return the pan to a simmer before transferring to the oven.
  • Cook uncovered for 1 hour or until the chicken is fully cooked and beginning to fall off the bone.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken to a separate plate and cover to keep warm.
  • Strain the remaining liquid through a mesh strainer, discarding all solids.
  • Return the liquid to the pan add the cream, and bring to a simmer.
  • In a separate, heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolk until it is slightly lighter in color.
  • Using a ladle, slowly drizzle about ½ cup of the hot cream and broth mixture into the yolk, whisking vigorously. This tempers the egg yolk so that it will not ‘scramble’ when added into the simmering sauce.
  • Reverse the process, slowly drizzling the egg and broth mixture back into the simmering pan, whisking well to combine. The sauce should thicken slightly and take on a uniform, smooth appearance. Fold in the diced carrot and diced onion garniture.
  • Return the chicken to the sauce to warm though.
  • To serve, ladle sauce over the chicken pieces and top with thyme leaves and or parsley to garnish.
  • Serve with roasted potatoes and spring carrots and peas sautéed in butter, or just crusty bread and a glass of dry white wine.

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