21 February, 2007

Blanquette de poulet

This is real traditional French bourgeois cooking. To be truly authentic, it should be served with plainly boiled white rice to soak up the sauce, but pasta or steamed new potatoes are also possibilities.

[note for purists — strictly speaking this should probably be called Fricassée, not Blanquette, as the meat is browned before cooking]

For 4 people:

4 skinned chicken breasts
150 ml double cream
1 chicken stock cube (or 1/2 l. chicken stock)
1 tbsp flour
200 g button mushrooms
1 bouquet garni
100 g button onions
1 tsp curry powder
1 egg yolk
1 tsp lemon juice
70 g butter
salt and pepper
1 tbsp oil

Cut the chicken into cubes about 2 cm square. Melt 20 g of butter and the oil in a casserole, and brown the chicken on all sides, then add the onions, the crumbled stock cubes plus 1/2 litre of water (or the chicken stock), and the bouquet garni. Season and simmer very gently for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, clean and slice the mushrooms. Brown them lightly in a frying pan with 20 g butter, and set aside. Blend the egg yolk, cream, curry powder, and lemon juice in a bowl.

Drain the contents of the casserole, saving 1/2 litre of stock. Discard the bouquet garni. Keep the chicken and onions warm.

Melt the rest of the butter in a pan, add the flour, and blend with a wooden spoon. Gradually add the reserved stock, stirring constantly. Off the heat pour in the egg and cream mixture, correct seasoning, and return to a low flame. Add the chicken, mushrooms and onions and stir over a low heat until the sauce thickens slightly — don’t let it boil. Serve straight away.

Note: don’t leave out the curry powder — it’s essential for an authentic flavour.

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