Chicken blanquette with heart-shaped croûtons

Chicken blanquette with heart-shaped croûtons

By
From
James Martin's French Adventure
Serves
4
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

The secret to getting this classic right is the addition of egg yolks and cream at the end – they add an amazing richness and flavour, but if you let the sauce get too hot, the egg yolks will scramble and the sauce will be ruined. This is a delicious dish if you can handle the pressure, though… Just take it easy, keep the heat low and you’ll be fine.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 x 1.25-1.5kg chicken
500ml chicken stock
200g baby onions, peeled but left whole
250g small button mushrooms, cleaned
6 sprigs tarragon, leaves picked
250ml double cream
50g butter
8 slices bread, cut into heart-shaped croûtons
1 tablespoons each finely chopped parsley
5 egg yolks
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Remove the legs from the chicken and, using a sharp knife, separate the thighs from the drumsticks. Using poultry shears or heavy scissors, lift the breasts from the carcass so that the breast is still attached to the breastbone, then separate the breasts and cut each one in half. (Alternatively, ask your butcher to joint the chicken into 8 pieces for you.)
  2. Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the stock, chicken pieces, onions, mushrooms, tarragon and half the cream. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat down low, cover with a lid and leave to cook for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan and fry the croûtons on both sides for 1 minute or so until golden brown. Remove from the pan and, while still hot, dip into the parsley. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
  4. To finish the blanquette, remove the chicken pieces from the pan and set aside on a warm plate. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining cream and egg yolks, then take the pan off the heat and stir the egg mixture into the sauce. Place the pan back over low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens, but do not allow it to boil. Pop the chicken back in to warm through, then season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve on a large platter, garnished with the heart-shaped croûtons.
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