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Try your hand at cooking this retro French classic from scratch at home. This Chicken Suprême combines tender chicken breast with an irresistibly creamy suprême sauce with added sautéed mushrooms and crispy bacon.
If the thought of classic French cooking sounds a little scary to you, well, think again. The foundations for this sauce are simple and quick. Most mistakes will happen if you are distracted while cooking and leave the sauce unattended, so find 30 minutes when you’ll be distraction-free and see how easy it is. Also, make sure to follow the principles of mise en place (translated to ‘everything in place’) by having all your ingredients weighed and prepared before you start cooking.
What is it?
The suprême part of this recipe is referring to sauce suprême. This is a classic French ‘daughter’ sauce, which means it is made with one of the 5 French ‘mother’ sauces as a base – Velouté. Velouté is a simple sauce that translates to ‘velvety’ in French. It combines chicken stock with a roux (butter and flour combined to thicken a sauce – more information below).
Suprême sauce simply adds cream and a little lemon juice to the Velouté. Et voila – you have a classic French sauce which is really not very difficult to make.
I like to add skin-on chicken breasts, crispy bacon, thyme and mushrooms to the sauce. This also adds a little more colour making it look a little more rustic. You can certainly use skinless breasts or thighs instead and skip the bacon, mushrooms and thyme if you want a more authentic dish.
How do I make a roux?
If you’ve never made a roux (pronounced “roo”) before then it may sound a little intimidating but fear not! It’s incredibly easy and the basis of many famous sauces such as Béchamel and Espagnole and it is also used to thicken gravy. A roux can be made with differing levels of darkness simply by cooking it for longer. For this recipe, we need a white roux, which only needs cooking for 2 minutes.
To make a roux you need to have equal measures (by weight, not volume) of flour and fat. You can use plain/all-purpose flour, and for the fat butter is a great option, although you can alternatively use vegetable oil, butter or ghee.
Simply melt the butter in a saucepan and then once melted, reduce the heat slightly and add the flour. Use a wooden spoon or a whisk to combine everything and then constantly stir it until it comes together. Continue to cook for 2 minutes and then remove from the heat.
When using the roux, it is best to use a cold roux with a hot sauce or stock, or a hot roux with a cold sauce or stock. This will help it to mix together without lumps. You can then heat the sauce once fully incorporated.
The weights of flour and fat you need depend on how much sauce you are making or thickening, how thick you want the end result to be and how dark the roux you’ve used is (a lighter roux will thicken more efficiently than a darker one). For this sauce, I use 25g (0.9oz) each of flour and butter which is then mixed with 500ml (2 cups) of chicken stock.
What can I serve it with?
You can serve chicken suprême with a variety of different sides. A bed of steamed rice is great to soak up the juicy sauce, or some steaming hot potatoes – mashed, roasted, baked… all work well. A side of veg also helps to round out the meal.
Some great ideas to try include:
- Roasted tenderstem broccoli
- Roasted courgette
- Grilled asparagus with balsamic red onion (make it without the balsamic so it doesn’t interfere with the sauce)
- Roasted Mediterranean vegetables (make it without the balsamic so it doesn’t interfere with the sauce)
- Garlic and leek mashed potato
- Lemon and thyme roasted potatoes
Can I make it in advance?
You can make this dish in advance, however, for best results I recommend cooking the chicken just before serving to prevent it from drying out. The sauce keeps well for up to 3 days in the fridge but will thicken when chilled. It will loosen when reheated and you can add a little water if you want to thin it out even more.
You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating and ideally reheat the chicken in the oven and the sauce on the hob/stove (although you can throw it all in a pan to reheat if short on time).
For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements jump to the printable recipe card.
For the suprême sauce:
- Chicken stock – as stock is the backbone of the sauce, using a quality, flavoursome stock will have a direct impact on the end flavour. You can use stock cubes, but you’ll get better results if you can use a quality bought or homemade stock.
- Lemon juice
- Double/heavy cream
For the chicken:
- Chicken breasts – I like to use skin-on, boneless breasts but you can opt for skinless
- Streaky bacon – you can use back bacon instead, use half the amount of rashers
- Onion, brown or white, diced
- Mushrooms, sliced into small pieces
- Garlic, finely chopped or crushed
- Fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems
How to make it
For more detailed steps with recipe tips jump to the printable recipe card.
First, make the Velouté sauce:
- Make a roux: heat the butter in a saucepan and, when melted, whisk in the flour. When fully combined into a thick paste cook for 2 minutes.
- Whisk the stock, a little at a time, into the roux. When all the stock is incorporated allow to simmer for 20 minutes to thicken.
Next, cook the chicken and other ingredients:
- Pat dry and season the chicken breasts. Cook in a hot frying pan for 3 minutes on each side. Set aside.
- Add the bacon to the pan and cook until starting to crisp.
- Add the mushrooms and onions and cook until softened then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Stir in the thyme and remove from the heat.
Finally, transform the Velouté sauce into a suprême sauce and finish cooking:
- Check the sauce has thickened enough – it should coat the back of a spoon.
- Stir the lemon juice and cream into the sauce.
- Pass the sauce through a fine mesh sieve into the pan with the bacon and mushrooms. Return the chicken to the pan and place back over the heat. Simmer for 8-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Looking for more great French recipes? Try:
- Slow cooker chicken chasseur
- Boulangère Potatoes
- Vegan Mushroom Pâté
- Individual Dauphinoise Potatoes
- Seared Tuna Salad Niçoise
Products that work well for this recipe:
2 in 1 Garlic Press
3 Pack Professional Fine Mesh Strainer
3 Pack Balloon Wire Whisks
This Chicken Suprême combines tender chicken breast with an irresistibly creamy suprême sauce with some added sautéed mushrooms and crispy bacon.
The default recipe serves 4.
For the suprême sauce
- 30g butter
- 30g flour
- 500ml / 2 cups cold chicken stock (see note 1)
- 125ml / 1/2 cup double or heavy cream
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
For the chicken
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 chicken breasts (see note 2)
- 4 rashers streaky bacon
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 200g / 7oz mushrooms, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems
- First, make a roux. In a large pan melt the butter over medium heat. Once it is just melted add the flour and stir it in using a wooden spoon or a whisk. Don’t let the butter or the roux brown as you want the resulting sauce to be pale. Once all the flour is incorporated you should have a thick paste. Cook it for a further 2 minutes, slowly stirring, to remove any of the raw flour taste (again, don’t let it brown!).
- Add the stock a small amount at a time. Use a whisk to fully mix the stock with the roux until all the stock is added and the sauce is even and silky.
- Adjust the heat on the pan so that the sauce is simmering and bubbling but not boiling over (it will need around 20 minutes of cooking time before you strain it in step 8 so no need to rush).
- Add the olive oil to a frying pan/skillet over medium-high to high heat. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towel and season on both sides. Add to the pan, skin-side down if you are using skin-on breasts. Cook for 3 minutes and then flip the breast and seal on the other side. Remove from the pan and set aside. (see note 3,4)
- Add the bacon to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes until it’s started to crisp. Add the onion and mushrooms to the pan and cook for a further 4-5 minutes to soften.
- Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before stirring in the thyme and removing the pan from the heat.
- Stir the cream and lemon juice into the sauce and whisk well. Season to taste.
- Carefully pour the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into the pan with the bacon. Return the chicken to the pan and place back over medium heat. Allow to bubble for a further 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (see note 5)
- Using cold chicken stock will help to keep the sauce free of lumps.
- You can use skin-on or off breasts or swap for chicken thighs.
- To get a lovely dark sear on the chicken make sure that they are dry as you can get them and that the oil is smoking hot.
- Don’t worry about the chicken not being cooked through after pan-frying as you will continue to cook it in the final step.
- To make sure the chicken is done you can use a food thermometer and check the internal temperature has reached 75C/165F. Or you can remove a piece and cut a slit into the side into the thickest part and make sure it’s completely white and the juices are clear.
- Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. The sauce will thicken when cooled but will loosen up when reheated. You can also add a little water to thin if required.
- If planning in advance it is best to cook the chicken breasts at the time of cooking so they don’t dry out when reheated, therefore it’s best to prepare the sauce in advance and freshly cook the chicken.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Hob / Stove
- Cuisine: French
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 550
- Fat: 36g
- Carbohydrates: 12g
- Protein: 40g
Keywords: french, sauce, chicken, dinner, indulgent, creamy, classic