Daniel Boulud knows a thing or two about chicken. So it may come as a surprise to some that one of his favorite ways to cook chicken is shockingly simple and very humble in its origin. Below is one variation of Daniel’s Poulet à la Crème.
Poulet à la Crème
1 4-lb. chicken, split in 4 or 8 pieces, with bones in
4 tablespoon butter
2 medium onions, cut into 8 wedges each
25 button mushrooms, cleaned
2 tablespoon flour
1½ cups white wine
2½ cups chicken stock
1½ cups heavy cream
¼ bunch chives
Salt and ground white pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
5 peppercorns, crushed
3 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
3 stems each of parsley, chervil, and tarragon, leaves reserved
Generously season chicken pieces on all sides with salt and pepper, then tie sachet ingredients into a cheesecloth square and set aside. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven on medium-high and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is melted, add the chicken and lightly brown on all sides. Add onion with another 2 tablespoons of butter to the pot and cook on medium-low heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring. Sprinkle flour evenly over chicken, mushrooms, and onions, and cook, stirring until flour is dissolved and lightly colored, about 4 minutes.
Add wine to the pot, stir well, and simmer until liquid reduces by half. Add chicken stock and sachet, stir well, cover, and simmer lightly for 15 minutes. Remove and reserve the breasts in a warm spot and let the legs and thighs cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. Remove sachet and remaining chicken, and check sauce’s consistency (it should lightly coat the back of a spoon; reduce if necessary). Add cream, bring to a boil, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean pot (reserving the onions and mushrooms). Return mushrooms, onion, and all of chicken to the sauce to heat all ingredients through. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped parsley, chervil, tarragon, and chives. Check seasoning, and serve with warm rice.