I was inspired to try this recipe by my favorite movie “Julie and Julia”. The original recipe from Julia child’s book “Mastering The Art Of French Cooking” calls to cook the chicken in the oven… But I later saw an episode online where Julia demonstrated how to make this same recipe by cooking the chicken on the stove instead. And that really is the version of her recipe that I prefer, as I feel that going back and forth between the oven and the stove really makes the recipe feel more complicated. Especially if all your pans have plastic handles (like mine… I can’t WAIT to go buy a good old cast iron pan, like my Dad always had!). So for this recipe, I went by Julia Child’s instruction, but I used her updated “stove-top” cooking method. This is DELICIOUS! And I will add a few tips that Julia mentions in her videos, and at the very beginning of her book, but not so much throughout the rest of it.
Julia Child’s Chicken Breasts With Mushrooms And Cream
(Supremes De Volaille Aux Champignons)
5 TB butter
1 Tb minced shallot or green onion
¼ lb diced or sliced fresh mushrooms
1/8 tsp salt
4 chicken breasts and the sauce in the master recipe
¼ cup chicken or beef stock
¼ cup port Madeira or dry white vermouth
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
Julia Tips: Using a paper towel, thoroughly dry the chicken before you cook it. If you don’t dry meat this way first (chicken, beef, pork), it won’t brown. Rather, it will just steam. Also, DO NOT crowd the pan, for the same reason, again the meat will just steam. Use a pan big enough to leave space between the pieces. Or cook fewer pieces at a time.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Rub the chicken breasts with drops of lemon juice and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a heavy, oven-proof pan, about 10 inches in diameter until it is foaming (a tip Julia gives later in her videos—add a little bit of oil to the butter to prevent it from burning). Stir in the minced shallots or green onion and saute a moment without browning. Then stir in the mushrooms and saute lightly for a minute or two without browning. Sprinkle with salt.
3. Quickly roll the chicken in the butter mixture and lay a piece of buttered wax paper over them (you can also use buttered foil, I have, but lat it loosely over the top, don’t press down or seal it), cover the pan and place in hot oven. After 6 minutes, press top of chicken with your finger. If still soft, return to oven for a moment or two. When the meat is springy to the touch (and not leaking pink or red juices) it is done.
4. Remove the pan from the oven. Then remove the chicken to a warm platter (leave mushrooms in the pan) and cover chicken while making the sauce (2 to 3 minutes).
5. To make sauce, pour the stock and wine in the casserole with the cooking butter and mushrooms. Boil down quickly over high heat until liquid is syrupy. Stir in the cream and boil down again over high heat until cream has thickened slightly. Off heat, taste for seasoning, and add drops of lemon juice to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.