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 very simple dish, made with meat, vegetables, and a white sauce. 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.
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.
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.
Frequently asked questions
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 or even bulgur.
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.
Can you freeze it?
If you would like to freeze the blanquette de poulet, I would recommend doing so before the sauce is added, to help the chicken keep its consistency.
You can prepare the sauce separately when you wish to heat it up and eat.
- 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
- 20cl of crème fraiche (approx. 3/4 cup of heavy cream)
- 1 egg yolk
- 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, heavy cream, and egg yolk 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.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 647Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 263mgSodium: 313mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 57g
Note: We are not certified nutritionists and these estimates are approximate. Each individual’s dietary needs and restrictions are unique to the individual. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health. This website is written and produced for informational purposes only.
If you enjoyed that, check out our other classic French recipes that are easy to prepare. Bon appétit and à bientôt !
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