Tuesday, July 27, 2021

French-style Braised Chicken with Leek and Mushroom - Poulet a l'etoufee aux poireaux et aux champignons

French cooking doesn't need to be fancy, it can be quite simple, with the subtle flavours being achieved by layering the ingredients in one pot.

Cooking this entire French dish in one stove top pan is an easy way to cook, saving time and effort, and it is also incredibly delicious. This is one of my favourite dishes now, however as Nigella Lawson says at times, it comes with a warning: "it isn't as easy on the eye as on the palate; this is a dish made for pleasure not a photo-op." Lots of finely chopped green herbs will make it prettier though.  By using "fines herbes" such as tarragon, chives, chervil and parsley, the beautiful flavours come through. I used tarragon in this dish giving it a very distinct  flavour. Tarragon is easy to grow in your own garden, and with it's delicate yellow flowers, also adds a cottage garden feel to your patch. I couldn't be without tarragon growing at home.

Cooking notes:

  • For the wine I recommend you use a crisp dry white wine such as Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc. A dry Riesling will also compliment the dish beautifully to cook with, and to drink while you are eating. There are so many delicious Australian Rieslings available.
  • It is essential to leave the fat on the meat. The fat from the skin will render into the pan, and will act as a base for the sauce. It will significantly add to the layers of flavour in the dish that I spoke about earlier. The skin can be removed later on your plate if you wish, but I don't.
  • You can make this dish even richer in flavour if you aren't watching calories, by frying the chicken to start with in 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil for an authentic French cooking experience. However it is still delicious the way I have presented the recipe using spray on olive oil.
  • Shallots can be substituted for the leeks
  • The squeeze of lemon juice at the end gives it the finishing touch, please don't forget it.
I hope you enjoy this meal as much as we do. It makes a perfect weeknight dinner or a weekend lunch, and the leftovers continue to increase in flavour. I have developed this recipe from one I found in an Australian Coles supermarket recipe book.

Let's Cook:

Serves 6

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking: 35 mins


 6 Chicken Thigh Cutlets, or Chicken Legs, with bone in and skin on (I prefer the thighs)

1 leek, thickly sliced, pale section only

200 g brown mushrooms, halved

2 bacon rashers, fat removed, and chopped or use pancetta as a substitute

1 tablespoon French Dijon Mustard

1/2 cup (125 ml) chicken stock,

1/2 cup (125 ml) dry white wine 

1/2 cup (125 ml)  cream, pouring or thickened

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove finely chopped garlic

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped tarragon


Spray a casserole pan suitable for a stove top  with olive oil and heat the pan.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan, skin-side down.

Cook chicken pieces for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Transfer them to a plate.

Now add the mushrooms, leek, garlic and bacon to the pan and cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until the leek is tender.

Add the French Dijon mustard and the stock and stir through to combine.  

Return the chicken to the pan with the juices. 

Reduce the heat to medium low. Slowly cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly. 

Stir in the lemon juice and the tarragon.

Serve with some mashed potato, steamed green vegetables such as beans or broccoli or whatever you have on hand, and a few fresh tarragon leaves on top of the dish or a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley. However pasta and rice also work well as the carbohydrate on the side of the plate, still with some green vegetables of course.

Waiting for more chopped herbs to be added

I baked a hi-top sourdough loaf to mop up some of the delicious juices as well.

I am in a French frame of mind at present, as our son Matthew and his lovely family, partner Myrtille and our grandchildren fly to France in the morning, leaving the Falkland Islands after working there for 2 years. They will be living and working in Montpelier for 12 months. Myrtille is French, so her family will be looking forward to her coming home. I asked Myrtille across Whatsapp, to translate the name of this dish for me into French as my Grade 12 French might just have been a little bit lacking. Once the children are asleep tonight, they need to go indivdually and have a Covid test at the hospital in Stanley, before they can board the plane in the morning, even though they are both vaccinated. This is the type of procedure we will all need to get used to. For now though, Mr. HRK and I are happy to live the simple life, enjoying the things we do at home, and the company of friends, and hoping that one day it will be safe for us to travel again. France is first on my list, how about you? We have our second Covid vaccination in mid-August. 

Are you watching the Tokyo Olympic Games on the TV? We are loving it, especially the swimming yesterday, and hoping for Gold again today. It's nice to see some views from around Tokyo as well.

Thanks for dropping by, and we hope you are well. I would love to hear from you.

Warm wishes and bon appetit,



  1. Bone in and skin on thighs for the win!! They are so much more flavourful and yummy. The sourdough loaf turned out marvelous and will taste fantastic soaking up all the sauce and juice from the chicken. What a fabulous meal!

    1. Thanks Angie, classic French flavours and yes very yummy.

  2. i feel sorry for the olympic competitors as they have no audience. must be a bit disheartening. love this dish pauline. such good flavours together.

    1. Thanks Sherry, I know what you mean about the olympics and no crowds, but it's interesting that they are doing so well, better than in Sydney. Perhaps not as many disgtractions.

  3. My tarragon has never produced delicate yellow flowers! I shall have to have a word with it. I love this type of cooking for during the week. We too are watching some of the Olympics - the timing is not good for us. And even though we can travel to France now without having to quarantine we are waiting to get to Holland to see our son.

    1. Tandy my tarragon is at its best in Summer, its not flowering at the moment. I hope I can get to France to see our son and family, but I'm not optimistic. Hope you can travel to Holland soon.

  4. Lovely dish -- there are so many terrific French chicken sautes. Thighs for me too, please. And I have plenty of fresh tarragon in my garden, so I'm all set to make this!

    1. Well that sounds great, tarragon is a fairly universal herb I think. I hope you love this dish, please let me know. Thanks, Pauline

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your comment, it's great to hear from you.

  6. Goodness, this looks delicious!

  7. My friend has a French mother and would always extol the virtues of layering flavours! :D It looks easy on the eye to me!

    1. I love the way the french cook, my daughter in law makes great cakes and crepes, and my son does the rest of the cooking, so I can't get any tips from her about savoury cooking. However this is such a delicious recipe. Thanks so much for stopping by Lorraine.

  8. My family and I love this dish which is simple, delicious and comforting. Thank you so much for reminding me to make.

  9. Thanks so much, I'm so pleased you enjoy it. It will be made regularly in my home.

  10. Oh that looks delicious! I have a daughter in Germany married to a Frenchman, so am also champing at the bit to be able to travel!


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