December 19, 2014

Chicken with Shallot Cream Sauce

I'm sitting in the airport waiting to go home. I'm surrounded by small screaming children and I'm sitting in a very uncomfortable seat with who knows how many germs. The only thing getting me through the next hour (until I go to an even more noisy, cramped space) is the thought of home-cooked food. I don't think I've had chicken that's not breaded and fried until desert-dry in months, so this is definitely one of the dishes I miss most. I can't wait until I'm able to cook this succulent, crispy chicken with a velvety, creamy sauce and serve it over a heaping pile of buttery mashed potatoes.

The chicken part of this dish isn't too complicated. Use whatever your favorite cut of chicken is, but try to pick some of the bone-in, skin-on variety. The bones add extra flavor and keep the chicken moist and juicy, and the skin crisps up beautifully and prevents the chicken from drying out. Personally, I prefer chicken thighs, but breasts and drumsticks would be wonderful, too.

Once you have your chicken pieces, pat them dry with a paper towel. This gets you a nice crispy crust since there's no moisture on the outside to ruin your sear. I also dredge mine in some flour because it adds to the golden, crunchy exterior. The seasoning is pretty basic; I just use salt and pepper, but some thyme would be delicious as well and would compliment the sauce nicely. To cook the chicken, I sear it in a skillet and then throw it in the oven until done. Normally, I would do that all in the same skillet, but here I transfer the chicken to another baking dish so I can use the skillet for the sauce.

The sauce is where the dish really shines. I douse my chicken and potatoes with it and sop the rest up with some crusty French bread. I start by caramelizing some thinly sliced shallots in the chicken drippings. Since shallots don't caramelize as readily as onions, I throw in a pinch of baking soda, which instantly deepens the color and enhances their natural sweetness. Once they are tender and golden, I stir in some white wine, chicken broth, and thyme and let that reduce. Finally, I stir in the cream and let it all cook together for a few more minutes to reduce further and let all the flavors meld together.

Like I said, I love this dish served over mashed potatoes, but any type of potatoes would do. The chicken and the sauce are flavorful but delicate, so they definitely wouldn't overshadow most vegetables. Really, this is a great recipe to serve with just about any side, and I plan on eating copious amounts of it as soon as I land.

2 1/2 lbs Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Pieces
1/4 Cup Flour
3 Shallots, Sliced Thinly
Pinch Baking Soda
3/4 Cup White Wine
3/4 Cup Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Cream
2 Sprigs Thyme

Heat oven to 350F.

Heat some oil in a large skillet. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, dredge in the flour, and sear on all sides until browned, about 15 minutes total. Transfer to a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Pour out all but a spoonful of oil from the skillet. Add the shallots and baking soda and cook over low heat for 6 minutes or until tender and golden. Stir in the wine, chicken broth, and thyme and cook for 4 minutes, then stir in the cream. Cook for 8 minutes or until thickened; serve over the chicken.

Serves 4
Recipe Adapted from Perpetually Hungry


  1. I am definitely loving the sound of that sauce.. thanks for the recipe, I will be trying it!