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.
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 CremeCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium
A more sophisticated take on chicken a la king
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
- 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.
Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!