This recipe includes
|(Optional) Bacon lardons|
|(Optional) Dry white wine|
Spices, herbs and flavoring ingredients:
|Chicken liquid stock|
|Salt and pepper|
|All purpose flour|
Why we love it
If you are looking for an interesting way to cook chicken, the creamy chicken recipe (blanquette de poulet in French) could be just what you are looking for. Rich, smooth, and full of flavor, this creamy chicken blanquette fits in well with other classic French recipes that do cook perfectly in the Instant pot.
Now, I should mention that the dish that is most common in restaurants in France is actually blanquette de veau, which is made with veau meaning veal. It is one of the grand classics of French gastronomy, with plenty of Michelin starred chefs putting their own spin on it, including using chicken or pork instead.
It is a simple meat dish, with mushroom, vegetables, and a white sauce added. Blanquette comes from the French word blanche meaning “white” and refers to the sauce made from cream and butter, or flour.
However, veal is not the easiest meat to find if you are making a blanquette de veau. Even in grocery stores in France, you will rarely find veal. Instead, you need to go to a boucherie (butcher) to get the cut of meat that you want. So most people in a rush usually substitute it with chicken or pork shoulder.
(However, if you would like to follow tradition and prepare a blanquette de veau, you can substitute veal for chicken in the recipe below, and add a couple of minutes to the cooking time of the Instant pot.)
Like the coq au vin and poulet provençale, the blanquette de poulet is a great way to easily harness the flavors of a chicken in a traditional French dish. Made with chicken and vegetables, it is also a healthy dish that’s packed with protein and so good for the body.
The nice thing about chicken blanquette is that it can be made ahead of time, so that you can enjoy a long warm-up apéro with family and friends.
In France, the traditional way a typical blanquette is slow-cooked on the stove for 1.5 hours. These days with the Instant Pot, I find that taking a few shortcuts doesn’t take away any of the flavors of the chicken stew.
Frozen Veggies: For instance, for the vegetables in the recipe below, I’ve counted the time it takes to chop all the vegetables and add them in. But we do get chopped frozen vegetables, even in France, and there’s a reason they are so popular. Just toss them in and you’re good to go.
Frozen Chicken: You could also use frozen chicken, if you really are in a rush. But keep in mind that the skin will probably not taste as good and fall off. I’ve sacrificed the skin and cooked it several times with the chicken still frozen, and the dish still tastes fantastic.
If you do decide to leave the chicken frozen, you don’t need to add any additional time. The Instant Pot will take longer to heat up, so just leave the cooking time the same.
Lardons: Also, one thing to note is that the French recipe usually calls for lardons, which are small matchstick-size pieces of bacon, although they are optional. These don’t need to be sautéed (if you are using frozen chicken).
But if you don’t have lardons and are using regular bacon, you should sauté those as per the recipe below.
Spices: There are a lot of spices on the list, but in essence this is a French bouquet garni. You don’t need to have every single one, a French bouquet garni involves mixing and matching what you have.
Make sure you buy a table wine however, and save the good stuff to drink! If you are not sure of the difference, you can read more about reading French wine labels here.
Recipe without alcohol
Unlike coq au vin which has “wine” in the name, a blanquette does not necessarily have to include wine. While a boeuf bourguinon marinates the beef for hours, the wine in a creamy chicken blanquette recipe is more limited.
At its base, the sauce is similar to a velouté or béchamel sauce, and so doesn’t need wine. It adds a supplemental note to the chicken, but is not mandatory, if you don’t drink alcohol or if you are serving the dish to small children. You can also try a chicken pot-au-feu which adds more vegetables, but no alcohol.
What to serve with it?
Mashed potatoes go really well with creamy chicken blanquette, as well as tagliatelle pasta.
You can also serve it with rice if you prefer, my favorite is long-grain brown rice or wild rice. It is drier and less sweet than some other accompanying dishes, and so I find it goes really well.
And there are many other possibilities as well such as polenta, bulgur or even a chickpea salad.
What drinks to serve?
In France, a sumptuous creamy chicken dish like Blanquette de poulet will only be served with wine. For a traditional dinner, French etiquette dictates that there are no apéritifs, cocktails, sodas, or any of the like.
How to store it?
If you would like to freeze the blanquette de poulet, I would recommend doing so before the béchamel sauce is added, to help the chicken keep its consistency.
You can prepare the béchamel sauce separately when you wish to heat it up and eat.
Creamy Chicken Recipe (Blanquette de Poulet)
- 3 pounds of chicken approx. 8 pieces of thigh and leg
- 1 cup of sliced white or oyster mushrooms
- 1 onion chopped up
- 3 carrots sliced
- 1 chopped celery branch
- 2 garlic cloves chopped up
- 1 cube of chicken stock
- 4 sprigs of parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon of butter
- 1 cup of lardons or 6 strips of bacon sliced into small pieces
- 1/3 bottle of dry white wine eg. Muscadet Loire or Bourgogne Aligoté
Béchamel Cream sauce
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 20 cl of crème fraiche approx. 3/4 cup of heavy cream
- pinch of salt and pepper
- For the Instant Pot
- Add the chicken thighs, bacon, and butter in the Instant pot and sauté for about 8 minutes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, and set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 12 minutes.
- Once the countdown has finished, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes.
For the Béchamel Sauce
- In a bowl, mix the flour and heavy cream until it is smooth.
- Add in the salt and pepper.
- In a deep saucepan, melt the butter.
- Add in the mixture and cook at medium temperature for 2-3 minutes until it looks well-blended.
- Add mixture to the Instant pot, stirring as it is blended in.
- Press Sauté on the Instant Pot for 5 minutes (with lid open).
- Serve while warm.
If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French recipes that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt !