Chicken blanquette with heart-shaped croutons
- Online only
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 50 min, simmering time 30 minutes
James Martin’s creamy chicken recipe will transport you to France with every mouthful. A labour of love with impressive results – this dish is perfect for entertaining.
- 1 x 1.25–1.5kg chicken
- 500ml chicken stock
- 200g baby onions, peeled but left whole
- 250g small button mushrooms, cleaned
- 6 sprigs of tarragon, leaves picked
- 250ml double cream
- 50g butter
- 8 slices bread, cut into heart-shaped croûtons
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 5 egg yolks
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 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 eight pieces for you.
- 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.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan and fry the croutons 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.
- 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. Serve on a large platter, garnished with the heart-shaped croûtons.
Recipe from James Martin’s French Adventure by James Martin (Quadrille £20) Photography by 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.
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