Poulet Sauté – Sautéed Chicken

As I mentioned in my last entry, I am loving Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and Simone Beck.  I also mentioned that I’m trying to use up some random ingredients we have around the house.

One of the perks of living in London is that I get large grocery orders delivered!  A couple of deliveries ago the shop accidentally delivered £30 worth of organic chicken parts we hadn’t ordered or been charged for on our bill.  So, I stuffed them in the freezer until I had something to do with them.

While breezing through Mastering the Art of French Cooking for the millionth time I found her recipe for Poulet Sauté or Sautéed Chicken.  What I really love about this cookbook is how simple the recipes and ingredients can be and how amazing the flavour can taste.  This is now one of my husband’s favorite recipes.

Difficulty:  Easy
Serves:  4
Cooking time:  30 to 40 minutes
Variations:  You can add cream to the sauce at the end to make a lovely cream sauce.  The cookbook mentsion many other variations.


6 – 8 chicken legs
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1/2 cup or 120 ml dry white wine
1/4 cup or 60 ml chicken stock
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
4-8 chicken pieces (I had 2 thighs and 4 drumsticks)


  1. Wash and dry each piece of chicken thoroughly.  If you have not dried your chicken all the  way the water could cause the oil to spit and your chicken will not brown as nicely.
  2. Use a large and deep frying pan, cast iron skillet or cast iron casserole dish with a lid.  I used my Le Creuset casserole dish.  Place the dish over moderately high heat and add a knob of butter and a tablespoon of oil.
  3. When the butter has melted into the oil add the chicken.   Brown the chicken, turning as needed to brown on all sides.
  4. If all of your chicken does not fit then brown a few pieces at a time, remove from the pan and set aside and then add more chicken.  Repeat this until all the chicken is browned.
  5. Season your chicken with the salt and pepper.  The cookbook recommends that you take all the brown chicken out of the pan to season.  Then placing first the dark meat, as it cooks longer, back in the pan for the next step and later the white meat.  However, most of my meat was dark so I did not remove the chicken from the pan.  The cookbook also states that you can add additional fresh green herbs at this stage including thyme, basil and tarragon, or tarragon only, or 1 tsp dried herbs.  I am not a fan of tarragon and did not have any other fresh herbs on hand other than parsley so I stuck with the salt and pepper.
  6. If you have removed your chicken to season, place the chicken back in the pan, cover and cook for 25 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.  Basted the chicken and turn 2 to 3 times while cooking.  If you are using both dark and white meat then cook the dark meat for 8 to 9 minutes then add the white meat, cover and cook for an additional 15 minutes. The meat is cooked when the juices of the chicken run clear when poked with a fork or knife.
  7. While the chicken is cooking, chop your shallots and parsley and heat up your stock.  I used chicken stock cubes to make or heat the stock.
  8. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a hot serving dish and cover while you finish the sauce.
  9. Pour out some of the oil and butter but leave about 2 tablespoons in the pan.  Return the pan to the heat.
  10. Add the chopped shallots and parsley and cook for one minute.  Be careful not to burn the shallots or they will be bitter.  The key is to keep them moving.
  11. Add the stock.  At this stage you can also add a splash of white wine, I would have if I had any on hand.
  12. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil.  Stirring and scraping up the bits of skin and chicken and shallot that have seared to the bottom of the pan.  This is known as deglazing.  All of these bits are what really flavor the sauce.
  13. Let the sauce bubble until it has reduced down to a thicker but still slightly running consistency desirable for a sauce.
  14. At the last minute add a small knob of butter.
  15. Pour the sauce over the chicken before serving. Enjoy!

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