If you watch cooking shows or are interested in French cooking, I'm sure you've heard the term Velouté. But what is this sauce, and why is it so important in French cuisine?
Sauce Supremê, is a straightforward and traditional sauce, it is a Velouté with cream added to it. But we don't just add cream for this recipe; we add the excellent combination of fresh Sage and Thyme! Our recipe includes this highly versatile and important sauce.
Velouté is one of five French mother sauces, sauces that can be used on their own in a dish but can also be made into other sauces. For example, Hollandaise is usually used on its own but can be turned into other sauces like Béarnaise. Velouté is no different but is most often used to prepare another sauce or daughter sauce.
Our recipe starts with a Roux, a simple thickening agent made from butter and flour. Then we add chicken stock and aromatics to make a Velouté. Finally, we add cream and a touch more butter for our Sauce Supremê. But we can't have a recipe just with sauce! This is restaurant-quality food with our very creamy mash potato recipe and a simple chicken glaze. It always helps to garnish your dish as well; we chose some shallots and garlic to be browned in butter for an extra flavor element.
On to the chicken, why did we choose a chicken thigh rather than a chicken breast? We have to look at the fat content. Yes, a chicken breast can be full of flavor and juicy, but chicken thighs do a better job. Chicken thighs have a higher ratio of fat and thus more flavor, making them juicer. It also helps that the bone is still in the chicken thigh, generally speaking, which helps to add flavor as well.
So how did we make the chicken golden brown? We pride ourselves on not using fancy food photography tricks such as the famous engine oil as syrup on pancakes. What you see is what you can make in your home. The key is a heavy bottom pan- we used cast iron and gentle medium heat. Flipping the chicken thigh often helps slowly cook it and ensure a golden color. It's also important to spoon the butter over the chicken to add flavor and help cook it faster.
Now, if you are concerned about the amount of butter while cooking the chicken, don't be! Not all the butter will be absorbed into the chicken. Additionally, the French population, generally speaking, has lower heart disease than other nations- and they consume a lot of butter! I'm not a doctor or here to give health advice. However, there have been studies done to showing the saturated fat consumption and death rates in a few countries, and the French have a very low death rate compared to the saturated fat they consume.
The World Health Organization says that we should only consume 10% of our energy from saturated fats. Yes, that sounds nice, but the French have lower death rates for the amount of saturated fat they consume. Fat is very filling and in the end you will have less of it as a result. Many refute this idea, and I'm not here to give health advice. Food makes people happy, and if that means a little bit more butter, I give it the green light! But as a chef, food is meant to be enjoyed, so it's my job to make food delicious and memorable.
The History of Roux
A Roux is one of the oldest and basic forms of thickening a sauce. As seen in this recipe, it involves just two ingredients: butter and flour. Its origins can be seen printed in 1533 in Germany, during the medieval period. It was a painfully complicated recipe, however.
Forget about butter; the fat would come from a boiled boar's head, basted with wine, cooked in wine, then a black sauce would be made with the fat and add flour. But that's not all; more wine would be added along with spices, fruits, and nuts. It seems those in Germany liked their wine! I'm glad today that we use simple butter and flour.
As for the future, many believe starches, such as corn starch or arrowroot, will take the place of a Roux. Traditionalists, like myself, believe in the essential qualities that a simple butter and flour Roux bring to a dish.
We are very excited for you to give this recipe a try. Our creamy mashed potatoes, perfectly cooked chicken, and to-die-for sauce make this recipe your new go-to dinner!
Need a chicken stock recipe? Click here!