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Jacques Pepin’s Poulet A La Creme

Chicken with mushrooms and cream in a fabulous dish by Jacques Pepin.

 

This dish is the equivalent of a big cashmere blanket wrapped around your shoulders.

It’s warm, comforting, and makes you feel well taken care of.

And of course, it’s by Jacques Pepin.

“Poulet A La Creme” is from his newest cookbook, “Jacques Pepin Heart & Soul In the Kitchen” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

It’s also his last cookbook — well, at least the last one associated with his own television cooking show. That’s because his current KQED series of the same name is the last one he will film. He’ll turn 80 in December, and after 14 series, 24 cookbooks, and 32 years on television, he’s finally taking a break.

It’s fitting then that this cookbook is all about the food he cooks at home for friends and family. The 200 recipes pay homage to his French heritage, and also to his global travels. Most of the recipes are all of one page with only a handful of instructions, too, reflecting his philosophy that dishes need not be complicated to be wonderful. Simple yet precise techniques with good ingredients is all you need to turn out the likes of “Tomato Tartine,” “Broiled Salmon with Miso Glaze,” “Fried Eggplant Flans” and ” Lemon Mousseline.”

For me, there’s just something so cozy about tender chicken pieces bathed in a light, white wine-cream sauce studded with mushrooms.

This one-pot wonder is a specialty of Pepin’s hometown, Bourg-en-Bresse. It’s practically easy enough to make on a weeknight. The recipe called for skinless chicken thighs, but I used skin-on ones. It also says that six chicken thighs is enough for four servings. But you could stretch that to six servings if the thighs are on the large size. Eight mushrooms are called for, but I used a few more, just because I love saucy mushrooms.

And what glorious sauce it is, tasting deeply of poultry juices with the splash of cream adding body and a dose of richness.

Serve it with crusty bread, rice pilaf, mashed potatoes, egg noodles or Israeli couscous to soak up every spoonful, too.

It’s a dish worth snuggling up to.

Poulet A La Creme

(Serves 4)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), skin removed (about 2 1/2 pounds skinned)

8 mushrooms (about 6 ounces), washed and sliced

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup water

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh tarragon (optional)

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the chicken thighs to the pan in one layer and brow over high heat for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle on the flour. Turn the chicken pieces with tongs so the flour is dispersed evenly. Stir in the wine and water and mix well. Bring to a boil and add the salt and pepper. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook gently for 25 minutes.

Add the cream, bring to a boil, and boil, uncovered, for about 1 minute.

Serve sprinkled with the chopped tarragon, if desired.

From “Jacques Pepin Heart & Soul In the Kitchen” by Jacques Pepin

More: A Visit to the Set of Jacques Pepin’s Last KQED Show

Another Jacques Pepin Recipe to Try: Lamb Steaks With Soy, Vinegar, and Garlic

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