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Chicken Blanquette

A blanquette is a ragout (stew) of chicken, veal or lamb prepared in a velouté (white) sauce. as the name suggests, it is important not to brown the meat before cooking.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 100g (1 cup) baby button mushrooms 50g (4 tbsp) butter
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 100ml (1⁄2 cup) white wine
  • 1 litre (4 1⁄4 cups) White Chicken Stock
  • 1 leek, trimmed and cut into 3 large pieces
  • 1 celery stick, cut in half
  • 1 carrot, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 onion, studded with 1 clove
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 25g (3 tbsp) plain (all-purpose) flour 300ml (11⁄4 cups) double (heavy) cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)
  • To garnish
    • 1 shallot, finely sliced
    • 1 tsp caster (superfine) sugar

Method

  1. Put half the lemon juice, the mushrooms and half the butter in a saucepan. Add salt and pepper and just enough water to cover, then bring to the boil. Leave to boil for 1 minute, then strain through a fine sieve or strainer, reserving the stock and mushrooms separately.
  2. Place the chicken pieces in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the mushroom stock, wine and chicken stock, then the leek, celery, carrot, onion, bouquet garni and salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the surface, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the meat from the stock and set aside with the cooked mushrooms. Cover with kitchen foil and keep warm.
  4. Pass the stock through a fine sieve or strainer, discarding the solids. Measure out 500ml (2 cups) of the stock. Freeze the rest for future use.
  5. To make the sauce you must start with a roux. Melt the remaining butter in a medium saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, or until lightly coloured. Add the measured stock a little at a time, stirring well, then bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until thick and smooth.
  6. Return the chicken and mushrooms to the large pan, then add the sauce and all but 1 tablespoon of the cream. Cover and simmer very gently for a further 5–10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Place the tablespoon of cream in a bowl with the egg yolks and mustard (if using). Beat together, then add to the sauce off the heat and stir gently. (It’s important to stop the simmering or the yolks might curdle.) Add the remaining lemon juice and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  8. Finally, put the shallot and caster sugar into a dry frying pan and fry until golden brown. Sprinkle over the chicken and serve with basmati rice.