A blanquette is a classic French stew of veal, chicken or lamb with mushrooms in a velvety sauce. This concept has been adapted to the slow cooker to make a lightened-up version using chicken thighs. Just a little whipping cream (which is less inclined to break down than lighter creams and gives more density to the sauce) adds richness. This is delightful over egg noodles.
Makes: 8 servings, generous 3/4 cup each
- 1 pound mushrooms, stems trimmed, caps wiped clean
- 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots, (2 large)
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup water, divided
- 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup thinly sliced carrots, (1 large)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut in 2-inch chunks
- 2 1/4-inch-thick lemon slices, (including peel), seeded
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, rinsed under cold water to thaw
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Combine mushrooms, shallots, oil and 1/4 cup water in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven. Cover and cook over high heat, stirring often, until mushrooms are juicy, 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add broth, carrots, thyme and bay leaves; bring to a boil.
- Place chicken in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker and lay lemon slices on top. Turn heat to high. Carefully pour in the vegetable mixture. Cover and cook until the chicken is very tender, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and vegetables to a bowl; discard bay leaves and lemon slices. Skim fat and pour the juices into a large saucepan; add lemon zest. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until reduced to 2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Mix cornstarch with remaining 1/4 cup water in a small bowl. Add to the pan and cook, stirring, until slightly thickened. Add cream and lemon juice; stir until boiling. Return the chicken and vegetables to the sauce and heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, stir in peas and parsley. Simmered Stew variation: Total: 1 1/2 hours In Step 1, use only 1 1/2 cups broth. In Step 2, add chicken, lemon slices and lemon zest to the Dutch oven. Cover and simmer gently over low heat until the chicken is very tender, about 45 minutes. Discard lemon slices and bay leaves. Omit Step 3. Continue with Step 4, cooking everything in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
Tips & Notes
- Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 4 up to adding the peas and parsley. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, if necessary, and reheat on the stovetop, in a microwave or in the oven; just before serving, stir in peas and parsley.
Per serving: 270 calories; 12 g fat (4 g sat, 5 g mono); 86 mg cholesterol; 13 g carbohydrates; 26 g protein; 2 g fiber; 329 mg sodium; 562 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (80% daily value), Selenium (42% dv), Vitamin C (25% dv), Zinc (21% dv), Potassium (16% dv), Iron (15% dv).