Sounds fancy, right? But it’s surprisingly simple – just brown some chicken breasts, mushrooms, and bacon, and make a quick sauce.
Now for my true confession: I’m a much better baker than a cook, especially when it comes to meat. My problem is overcooking it, because I’m paranoid of raw chicken. Some tips I learned from Mastering the Art of French cooking are helping. Julia says:
“attention must be exercised… even a minute too much can toughen the meat and make it dry… its point of doneness is easily determined as it cooks. Press the top of it with your finger; if it is still soft and yields slightly to the touch, it is not yet done. As soon as the flesh springs back with gentle resilience, it is ready. If there is no springiness, it is overcooked.” –Julia Child from Mastering
Attention. That’s my Achilles heel! I always get distracted while I’m cooking – doing laundry, reading mail, watching a cooking show…
I also learned from Mastering that a sûpreme is the boneless breast of chicken, before it’s cooked, as opposed to the phrase I’d previously known, blanc de poulet, which means white-meat chicken after it’s cooked. As in, meat removed from a roasted chicken.
I’d figured this out from grocery shopping in France, trying to find luncheon meat for sandwiches: blanc de poulet (sliced chicken) and blanc de dinde (sliced turkey). And even though volaille means “poultry,” suprême de volaille appears to only mean chicken breast. Turkey isn’t that common in France, and I guess it’s too big to consider cooking the breasts by themselves.
Whew! Lots of background info… now on to the yummy recipe. It comes from the Paris cooking class I took in 2008. Next time I make it, I’ll post more detailed photos.
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced (or sweet onion)
- ½ lb. button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 oz. pancetta or bacon, chopped
- 1 chicken breast per person
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 cup light crême fraîche (or sour cream)
- 1 cup dry white wine (we used a Sauvignon)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the mushrooms in a frying pan over medium-high heat and let them render their water.
- When there is no more water, add the bacon and shallot; stir well and let cook one minute.
- Add the crème, stir well, and let boil one minute. (If using sour cream, skip this step!)
- Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Set sauce aside.
- Melt the butter in a larger frying pan over medium heat (don't use a non-stick skillet, or it won't brown).
- Add the chicken and cook 5 minutes on one side, 4 minutes on the other side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
- Add the wine to the hot skillet to deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned remains in the pan and stirring them into the wine.
- Simmer until the wine is reduced ¼, add the chicken and mushroom mixture, followed by sour cream (if using); stir to combine and warm through (do not boil).
- Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Serve immediately.
If you aren’t familiar with crème fraîche, it’s similar to sour cream, but not the same. You can easily make your own with this tutorial, or you can wait and add the sour cream to the sauce, at the very last minute. Don’t boil or simmer sour cream in the sauce, since it will curdle.
la suprême de volaille…chicken breast
la crème fraîche…similar to sour cream