This is definitely a comfort food dish. To me, it’s like a warm crackling fire, comfy couch, and a favorite blanket. After a long cold day, I like to make Poulet à la Crème après-ski, with basic rice pilaf and crisp green salad with a light vinaigrette. Pair this dish with a Viognier, which has a lush, soft character and a bone-dry finish. The Viognier grape has a slightly higher alcohol content which perfectly compliments the rich sauce. As chefs, this is something we whip up for ourselves because it is quick and gratifying.
Poulet à la Crème
- 3-4 lbs chicken thighs, skinless with bones in (optional)
- 2 tbsp butter unsalted
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1/2 onion, white julienned (I used red on this day, it's not that important)
- 3 stalks of celery, diced
- 1/3 whole leek, sliced in half, cleaned, and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 8-10 oz crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 2 tablespoon flour, all-purpose
- 1½ cups Viognier or other dry white wine
- 2½ cups chicken stock
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- To taste salt and ground white pepper to taste
- 1 sachet For the Sachet - use a bit of cheesecloth tied up with butcher's twine and include the following: (5 peppercorns, crushed; 3 sprigs thyme; 1 bay leaf)
- 3 stems each of Herb Garnish: (parsley, chive, and tarragon, finely chopped)
Prepare the Vegetables
- Wash, trim, and roughly chop the onions, leeks, garlic, and mushrooms. Reserve
Prepare the Chicken
- Trim the chicken thighs of any excess fat. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat the pan with 2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken and sear until browned on both sides, then remove and reserve.
- If needed (and some butter or oil if necessary), add the mushrooms to the pan, and cook until well browned.
Cook the Vegetables
- Next, add onion, celery, leek, and garlic, then saute vegetables until tender.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Deglaze with white wine.
Put the Chicken Back In
- Once the wine has almost cooked out, return the chicken and add the cream along with the sachet of herbs. Bring back to a simmer and place a lid on top slightly off-center.
- Cook the chicken until done, testing with a meat thermometer. The chicken should be around (165°F or 74°C) and very tender to the touch.
- Remove the sachet of herbs and discard.
- If the sauce is too thin, thicken with a little cornstarch (1 tsp or more mixed with ⅛ cup water).
- Add the remaining garnish herbs and serve over cooked white rice.