Jacques Pepin’s Poulet A La Creme

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

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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  • Classic! Looks easy to make and delicious on a cold night. I love one-pot meals!

  • Found his cookbook at Costco this past week and snapped it up. It’s a wonderful collection of stories and drawings alongside his recipes. One of his notes talks about how food should be simple and taste like its ingredients, not over-complicated. He’s always been one of my favorites.

  • Wow that looks good and I would totally add more mushrooms too. That is something I’d like to snuggle up to 🙂

  • if there’s anyone in the world who doesn’t like jacques pepin, there’s something broken in him or her–that man’s awesome! delicious dish, for sure.

  • Grace: So true! Jacques is a true treasure.

  • Looks so cozy and inviting — I’d probably be swimming in this. 🙂

  • Oh wow my friend makes something similar to this and it is so good. He just calls it French chicken but it is so much more than that. And he is 80 years old? Wow he deserves some time off!

  • Oh how I love Jacques Pepin and love his food. This poulet dish is so classic and so him. I’ll be checking out his new cookbook. Nice article!

  • Saw this on Create lasr night . . . Had to have the recipe. So simple, so Jaques!

  • This dish is fantastic. I made the whole recipe for myself and froze the remaining servings in Foodsaver bags along with some rice pilaf. I just ate the last of my stash and I am sad. Be sure to add the tarragon. It ISN’T optional!!! I love Jacques!

  • Sheryl: So glad you love this dish as much as I do. Like Jacques, it’s a classic.

  • Sorry, but enlarge the picture and you will see that the sauce has an issue… In french, we call it “trancher”, meaning that the cream has gone off, fat on one side and the liquids on the other !

    Wether the picture is not from Jacques Pepin’s dish or he didn’t care !

    A simple knife tip of baking soda in the sauce would have fixed that !!!

  • I have made this dish with pork as well. It is very easy and really delicious.

  • Elaine: That is a fabulous idea about using pork. I am definitely going to try that. 😉

  • This is an outstanding dish. I watched Jacques Pepin make it on his TV show, and followed the recipe exactly.
    The white wine adds a considerable flavor to the sauce.
    I did not add the optional tarragon at the end.
    I will definitely make this recipe again. Would serve it over white rice. , The chicken sauce is so flavorful that the rice needs nothing else.

  • Pztrick— I do see the separation you’re talking about . I didn’t know that baking soda is an emulsifier , is it used to balance some acid from the wine that broke the flour thickening ?

  • Gamblor: I haven’t tried using baking soda in this, so I’m not sure if it helps as an emulsifier. Will have to give it a try next time.

  • Just made this for lunch. This is delicious.

  • Michelle: Wow — now, THAT is a four-star lunch, indeed. So glad you enjoyed it. 😉

  • He is being and always will be my favorite professor in cooking. I have few of his books and I absolutely loves his way to teaching.

  • Hi Selenia: Jacques is a treasure! I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing him a couple of times. One of the most inspired moments, though, was watching him do a cooking demo, where he cut up a whole chicken. I know that doesn’t sound terribly exciting. But in his hands, it was the most fluid, beautiful thing to behold. The entire room — it was all culinary students at a prestigious cooking school — was mesmerized.

  • Just one word . . . Fabulous!!!!

  • Hi Bill: So glad you loved the dish. It’s so homey and delicious. Perfect for this time of year, too.

  • Though his interpretation isn’t traditional and adds a few more ingredients than called for in the classic , Jacques’ recipe is an exceptionally flavorful riff. For one his addition of tarragon is both very French and such a beautiful accent flavor.

  • Hi Jake: Jacques’ recipes are always fantastic. And I never cease to learn something from his cooking shows. He’s a treasure!

  • On the show, he served this with Rice Soubise. Can’t wait to make them both. Had never heard of using baking soda to mend a broken sauce. Thanks for the tip.

  • Hi Susan: The baking soda tip was new to me, too. That’s why Jacques is such a treasure. You always learn something new when watching him. Happy cooking!

  • This photo is not from Jacque Pepin’s show. His had a soubise. His sauce on the show did not

  • This photo is not from Jacque Pépin’s show. He served it with a soubise and his sauce did not separate.

  • Hi Patty: This is my photo that I took after making this dish. Hope that helps.

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