This creamy French chicken stew, a variation on blanquette, is made with chicken breasts, carrots, mushrooms, celery, onion, and a creamy sauce. It feels decadent but is surprisingly virtuous.
Adapted from Mardi Michels | French Food for Everyone: Le Diner | MLM Publications, 2021
Blanquette is the sort of dish you might find on a prix fixe menu at a French bistro, an unassuming sort of dish but one that you should know how to make! Blanquette refers to a light meat (typically veal) stewed in a white sauce, traditionally thickened with a roux (flour and butter) and egg yolks. This version is slightly simplified in that it doesn’t involve making a roux but it’s no less flavourful. Serve this with plain boiled rice and garnish with fresh thyme leaves and parsley for a simple, comforting meal that comes together quickly, even on a weeknight.–Mardi Michels
Creamy French Chicken Stew FAQs
What should you serve with this chicken stew?
This creamy French chicken stew could be served over rice or mashed potatoes, or with a basket of warm biscuits.
Can I substitute chicken tenders or thighs for the chicken breast?
Definitely. Either will work well here.
Creamy French Chicken Stew
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized cubes
- 2 medium (2 cups) carrots peeled and finely diced
- 2 small stalks (1 cup) celery finely diced
- 1 small (1 cup) onion finely diced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces (3 cups) white or cremini mushrooms finely sliced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups canned chicken broth or homemade chicken stock
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Fresh thyme or fresh parsley for serving
- In a large, deep heavy skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil and butter.
- Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until it just starts to brown on the outside, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Add the carrot, celery and onion to the skillet along with the fresh thyme, a big pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables just start to soften, 4 to 7 minutes.
- Toss in the mushrooms and cook until they start to brown and release their juices, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir until completely coated.
- Pour in 1 cup of stock and cook until the liquid starts to thicken, about 15 seconds.
- Return the chicken back to the skillet, then pour in the rest of the stock and increase the heat to high. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once the mixture is bubbling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the liquid has reduced and thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. It should look like a slightly watery stew at this point.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the cream. Stir through and cook over low heat until desired sauce consistency is reached.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh herbs to serve.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
Winters in Iowa can be terrible. Terribly cold, terribly windy, and terribly dark. BUT there are recipes like this creamy French chicken stew that feels like a hug helping us forget that the back door is frozen shut. Our grocery store was out of mushrooms (it’s fine!) and cream (use whole milk!), but no one was the wiser during dinner. It was a hit with buttered orzo and peas. Comforting. Quick. Hearty. Leftovers are great too, which is always a big deal in our house. Next time, I’m going to serve it over mashed potatoes.
When the temperature outside is in negative degrees, it’s time to fire up the stove and this recipe was just what I needed. As the description stated it was a “comforting meal that comes together quickly” and with a couple of adjustments I would rate it a 10.
When I make any stew or soup I usually prefer my vegetables chunky, so I was a little skeptical that finely dicing would not be a positive, but I was wrong. Having the vegetables that size worked perfectly because it allowed a nice scoop of saucy vegetables with every bite of chicken. The sauce was rich and creamy with a subtle thyme flavor. A sure sign it was good, was when I tried to scrape up every bit off my plate.
I know a recipe is good when my husband/son will eat leftovers the next day. This is a basic but very comforting dish. I’ve made other similar recipes and this one is very good as well as easy to prepare. I had all the ingredients available in the pantry, so a good choice for a cold, dreary day. I used boneless chicken breasts as stated in the recipe, but it could be prepared with rotisserie or leftovers.
This stew is decadent without being overly rich… it’s almost confusing to the palate how vibrantly it embodies that “cooked all day” richness with a lightness not found in heartier fare. It’s a dichotomy I’m here for.
I used chicken tenders because I had them on hand. The cook time for the chicken and vegetables was accurate. After adding the flour and the initial 1 cup of stock, the sauce thickened almost immediately. It took 15 minutes of simmering to produce a watery stew after the addition of the second cup of stock. Once the cream joined the mix, an additional 5 minutes of simmering produced a stew that passed the “nappe” test. I tasted it and found it woefully lacking seasoning – probably because I reached for the sea salt initially. I added 1 tsp kosher salt and a few more grinds of pepper and this was enough to awaken the flavors.
This is a great recipe, easy to follow, easy to make. It’s kind of like a chicken pot pie without the pie, but heartier and creamier. I served this with rice and it was delicious!
This creamy French chicken stew was one of those meals that seem to taste better with every bite that you take. So good, in fact, that both my partner and I found ourselves standing over the pan at the stove to get just a couple of extra bites. This recipe was simple to put together and was definitely comfort food at its finest. We loved its vegetable goodness and chicken creaminess, especially paired with some plain rice. This is one of those recipes that we’ll probably make over and over again.
I expected the flavor of this blanquette to be very mild and had to resist adding chile flakes or garlic during the vegetable sauté. The stew was far more flavorful than expected, and just right for a cold winter’s week. While the prep took some time, the recipe was easily doubled in a Dutch oven, and dinner was done for the next few nights. I added a little more stock and cream when reheating, and extra thyme and parsley each night. This paired beautifully with basmati rice, and we had it with broccolini one evening, green beans the next, and frozen peas at the end.
Originally published March 24, 2022
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
It was a cold snowy night that called for stew. I did not want to venture out and was happy that I had all the ingredients to make the creamy French chicken stew on hand. I like lots of vegetables so I increased the amount of carrots, celery, onion and mushrooms and I did not chop finely but left them all in chunky bite size pieces. I added salt and pepper while browning the chicken and when sautéing the vegetables and still added a little more at the table.
This was an easy, quick meal to prepare and uses ingredients commonly found in the fridge and pantry. The sauce thickened nicely and the addition of just a little heavy cream gave the sauce a rich smooth flavor. I will make this again but will add garlic along with more thyme or rosemary to make this a more savory and flavorful dish. I served this with rice as recommended but it would also be nice with a big fluffy dumpling or biscuit. Definitely comfort food!