The most popular chicken recipe in the menu of Chef Georges Blanc’s gastronomic restaurant, which bears his name, is the Poulet de Bresse and here he makes healthy chicken recipes like Chicken Fricassee with the famous Bresse, a breed of chicken from the Rhone-Alps in France and the most sought after and expensive label of all chickens in a country that takes its food quality and labels seriously. In France, there are five labels for chicken categorized according to their production method: standard broiler, certified, label rouge, organic, and Bresse. The Bresse is considered to be the most superior quality out of the five and is highly valued for its depth of flavor, delicious clean fat, and tender meat. Few of these precious foul make it out of the country due to their high demand inside France.
In these kinds of not so easy chicken recipes, Chef Georges Blanc cooks a classic French recipe called chicken fricassee with cream using a large fatty Bresse chicken with white plumage, red comb, and blue legs—making up the colors of the French Flag, or tricolore. Chef Blanc adds that, “It is the only foul which bears the seal of quality of the French Agricultural Industry. It is free-range, fed exclusively with grain and milk, and the result is a very high quality foul.” You can make the same recipe using free-range organic chicken from your local farm although it might taste a lot different from the Bresse version as molecular gastronomist Heston Blumenthal would attest in the BBC series “In Search of Perfection,” Bresse chicken is a clear winner in terms of taste and texture out of the many chickens breeds in the world.
Known for his series of cookbooks, particularly, The Natural Cuisine of Georges Blanc, Chef Blanc likes preparing and serving traditional and authentic French family-style cuisine. His recipe for Chicken fricassee is one of the best available around.
1 chicken (about 4.4 lbs.)
14 ½ tablespoons butter
2 cup double cream (40-45% fat content)
12 baby onions (cut into 4 – 5 chunks each)
3 garlic cloves, mushrooms
1 1/4 cups white wine, thyme
1 laurel leaf
1. Cut chicken into eight pieces. Place pieces in a pot with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Add chopped onions, four or five garlic cloves, and some mushrooms. Add bay leaf and thyme. Cook until it turns a golden brown color, then sprinkle with white wine. Add cream. Cover and leave to cook for forty minutes.
2. Take the chicken out and place in a saucepan. Add some water to the cream. Strain the liquid to take out the herb garnishing and then pour into the chicken and heat for a little bit more. Season according to taste. Arrange on a dish and serve.